Host of Ballot Integrity Bills Move Through the Legislature

MacIver News Service | February 18, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] Multiple ballot integrity bills are heading through the legislature as the session is coming to an end, and some are scheduled for debate on the Assembly floor Tuesday.

Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) authored two of the election bills that are up in the Assembly.


Senate Bill 264 is scheduled for the floor on Tuesday. That bill would aim to improve the chain of custody for ballot containers by ensuring only two people are responsible for securing the ballot, the chief inspector and one other person.

The MacIver Institute previously reported on the many discrepancies in prior elections due to poor oversight in the chain of custody for ballot containers.

SB 267, also authored by Lazich, had an executive session Tuesday morning and passed out of committee on a 5-1 vote. That bill requires poll workers to record information about the identifying document used for proof of residence when voting. The bill was amended on Tuesday to require voters to have proof of residency all year round.

The Assembly is scheduled to take it up on Thursday.

“The comprehensive proof of residence bill improves the registration process and election integrity. Under existing law most times a person registers to vote they are required to prove residence,” Lazich told the MacIver Institute. “This bill requires proof of residence year round.”

Other election bills up in the Assembly on Tuesday include: AB 24, which relates to recounting votes cast with automatic tabulating equipment; AB 89, which relates to the method of reporting election returns; AB 689, which relates to updating the voter registration list; and AB 690, which relates to reporting registration and voting statistics.

Lazich has also been pushing a bill she co-authored with Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) that would improve oversight of absentee voting at nursing homes and other similar organizations.

The MacIver Institute has previously reported several cases of possible voter fraud at nursing homes. One case included an individual who had voted in multiple elections without his family being aware, even though they said he was no longer able to comprehend many of the issues at hand.

Patti Logsdon told MacIver back in October 2012 that her mother had been registered to vote twice because the nursing home registered for an absentee ballot after Logsdon had already done so for her mother.

SB 297 would standardize absentee voting at these types of locations and provide that at least five days notice be given before special voting deputies arrive to help individuals at nursing home cast their ballots.

“SB 297 and AB 396 provide the dual benefit of improving access to absentee voting for our state’s more vulnerable citizens and providing adequate oversight and rules to ensure the integrity of the process and protect vulnerable citizens from exploitation,” Lazich said.

These bills have yet to be scheduled for a floor date, but MacIver will provide updates as they become available.