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Wisconsin governor vetoes restrictions on absentee ballots

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Tuesday vetoed a series of bills passed by a GOP-led state legislature that would have tightened voting restrictions on absentee ballots in the state. 

The move represents a blow to a nationwide effort by Republicans to tighten restrictions on mail-in and absentee ballots following the 2020 presidential election. 

The governor vetoed six bills overall. 

“I just vetoed several bills that would’ve made it harder for Wisconsinites to cast their ballots,” Evers announced on Twitter. 

“Over the past two years, we’ve watched Republicans around the country add more hurdles to voting and abuse their power to try to change election results they didn’t like. That’s unacceptable. Politicians don’t get to decide elections—that power remains with the people,” he continued. 

One of the bills would have required those confined to their homes such as the elderly or disabled to show voter identification to obtain an absentee ballot. These voters would have to apply for a ballot each year, rather than have a ballot sent to them automatically, according to The Associated Press.

A second bill would have prohibited elections officials from filling in missing information on the envelopes provided by voters who voted absentee. 

Another bill would have prevented what Republicans have deemed “ballot harvesting,” and would have prohibited the collection of absentee ballots more than two weeks away from the election date. 

The news of the vetoes in the Midwestern battleground state comes amid an effort by Republican-led legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Texas and other states to pass sweeping elections bills that would make it harder for people to vote via absentee ballot. 

President Biden won the state of Wisconsin over former President Trump in the November 2020 election by about 21,000 votes. The president also had narrow victories in the states of Arizona and Georgia. 

Trump has maintained that the election was subject to widespread voter fraud in part due to mail-in ballots, which were used widely across the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The former president and his Republican allies have continued to make unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” due to widespread voter fraud. 

Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that the governor made a “momentous mistake” in vetoing the six bills. 

“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 in a statement. “I am very disappointed Governor Evers refuses to do the right thing.”

The Wisconsin legislature does not have enough votes to override the governor’s vetoes. 

However, the state’s Republican lawmakers have approved a review of the 2020 election by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau in February that is expected to conclude this fall. 

Vos also hired three retired police detectives to carry out a review of the election funded by taxpayer dollars, noting that the audit would not be carried out by “computer science people.”

Tags 2020 election absentee ballot restrictions Donald Trump Joe Biden Tony Evers Wisconsin Wisconsin voting laws

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