By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Wearing out his veto pen, Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday killed a half-dozen GOP-led bills aimed at restoring confidence in Wisconsin’s elections.
The Democrat vetoed legislation that would have prohibited local elections officials from filling in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes (curing ballots), one of myriad election integrity concerns from November’s hotly contested presidential election.
Evers also stopped from becoming law bills that would:
— Check abuses of the so-called “indefinitely confined” status
— Clean up language on special voting deputies in nursing homes, and
— Give election observers the ability to actually see what is going on at polling stations.
Evers claimed the bills are part of the “national Republican efforts to override the will of the people.”
Many Wisconsin voters believe the will of the people was trampled under foot by liberal activist efforts to take over Wisconsin’s elections.
“The Governor just turned his back on important election integrity bills that, had he signed, would have gone a long way to prove to the people of Wisconsin that protecting the integrity of our elections matters more than appeasing progressive Madison and Milwaukee special interest groups,” said Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield).
“Tell us, Governor, why are you OK with Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, giving private money to influence elections in Wisconsin? Why are you fighting against voter ID when an ID is needed to see a doctor, fly on a plane, to even get a library card? And, why are you willing to tolerate the possibility for our election laws to be loosely interpreted or manipulated by refusing to tighten up loopholes?” Kapenga added.
Evers, who has gone on a veto bender this summer, earlier vetoed legislation that would have banned direct grants from outside groups for election administration. The bill was in response to the massive amounts of “Zuckerbucks” dumped on November’s election.
As Wisconsin Spotlight has reported, Zuckerberg and his wife, Pricilla Chan, pumped $350 million into a left-wing, Chicago-based voting organization known as the Center for Tech & Civic Life. CTCL then handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in election administration grants under the guise of protecting poll workers and voters from COVID-19, but internal records show CTCL’s liberal network of partners infiltrating elections in the biggest and most heavily Democratic cities in battleground states such as Wisconsin. Reviews have found much of the funding did not go to voting safety, but to vote-at-home, get-out-the-vote and other initiatives aimed at increasing turnout for Democratic candidates.
Emails show long-time Democratic Party operatives and other liberal activists infiltrating elections in Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Kenosha — described as the “Wisconsin 5” by their liberal benefactors.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), said the governor is making another “momentous mistake” with his veto pen.
“These bills closed loopholes, standardized procedures, established uniformity, guaranteed only the voter can correct their own ballot and protected votes of seniors in long-term care.,” Vos said. “I am very disappointed Governor Evers refuses to do the right thing.”
Vos recently expanded a probe into the 2020 presidential election, led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. Meanwhile, the Legislative Audit Bureau is conducting a review of the election, although many conservatives, including some lawmakers, have demanded a “full, cyber-forensic audit” similar to the one done in Arizona.
State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), chairwoman of the Assembly’s Campaign and Elections Committee, last week announced legislative subpoenas demanding Brown and Milwaukee counties turn over election materials. The committee, which is leading a separate investigation into last year’s elections, is seeking ballots, voting machines, software, and routers.
As Evers vetoed the latest voting integrity legislation, he also advised elections officials in Green Bay and Milwaukee to disregard the law. When asked if they should comply with the subpoenas, Evers told reporters, “Hell no.” Nothing unusual from an executive who has repeatedly broken state law in an attempt to go around the Republican-controlled Legislature and has thumbed his nose at Wisconsin Supreme Court rulings checking his power.
“One would think that if Governor Evers is so confident there were no issues, he would be more than willing to show it. What are they hiding?” Brandtjen said in a follow-up statement.
Senate President Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said Evers is standing in the way of restoring trust in a troubled election system.
“Our commonsense election integrity bills would have made it easy to vote and harder to cheat. Today, the Governor showed he’s committed to keeping the same laws and loopholes that were exploited during the pandemic,” LeMahieu said.