UPDATE: Assembly Passes Election Reform Bill on Voice Vote

MacIver News Service | June 12, 2013


The Assembly passed AB 225 on Wednesday on a voice vote.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters on Wednesday he plans on bringing back a Voter ID bill this fall after court challenges to the law have been decided.

“I certainly don’t want to pass a fix to voter ID if there’s no need to do it whatsoever,” he said. “But I am pledging that we’re going to make sure that we have whatever is necessary to take place so we have the opportunity for a voter ID requirement in place by the November 2014 elections.”

Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), the lead author of the bill, said taking Voter ID out did not merit writing a brand new bill, and so a substitute amendment was offered instead.

“Photo ID, while it was maybe the lead item in this bill, it wasn’t the only thing. So it was an opportunity to work forward while we were able to get some bipartisan agreement at this point in this session,” he said.

Wednesday June 10, 2013 at 4:26pm

[Madison, Wisc…] Legislation that started out as an election reform bill received a major overhaul on Monday to gain bipartisan support in the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections.

Assembly Bill 225, authored by Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), was originally meant to modify the Voter ID legislation that was passed last session and reform the election process in Wisconsin.

Many parts of the original bill were removed with a substitute amendment on Monday, including the section on voter identification. The original bill allowed certain veteran identification cards to be used to vote, and also created exemptions for certain individuals who would not need to show an ID to vote.

These individuals would be required to sign a statement affirming that they consider themselves to be 1) “indigent and cannot obtain proof of identification without payment or fee; 2) he or she has a religious objection to being photographed; or 3) he or she cannot obtain the documentation required to obtain proof of identification,” according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

The original bill also would have required local elected officials to be charged with a crime to recalled from office. The substitute amendment removes this language from AB 225.

The substitute amendment also adds to AB 225 by doubling the campaign contribution limits for statewide candidates and creates an online system for voter registration.

The online voter registration system would be a secure internet site maintained by the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Voters would have to have a valid driver’s license or identification card, register no later than the 20th day before an election and the registration form would allow the Department of Transportation to forward a copy of the voter’s electronic signature to the GAB for verification.

The amended bill passed in Committee on an 8-1 vote with Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend) voting in opposition.

Craig told the MacIver News Service that he still has questions about the substitute amendment, which he said made drastic changes to the original bill. “My vote does not speak to the overall merit of the legislation as I intend to use this time to gather more information prior to its final consideration on the floor.” Craig said.

The bill is expected to be taken up by the full Assembly in an upcoming floor session.