Assembly Democrats introduce legislation to move to mail-in voting for remaining 2020 elections

Absentee Ballot Wisconsin
File photo.
Credit: Dee J. Hall Wisconsin Watch

Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature introduced legislation on Thursday that would move all elections in 2020 to mail-in elections.

The new proposal, still in draft stages, follows the state’s spring election on Tuesday in which thousands voted in person despite public health officials advising against leaving the home.

“What we witnessed on April 7th at polling places across Wisconsin was a tragedy, and worse, an avoidable tragedy,” wrote Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, in a news release. “Forcing people to make the impossible choice between risking their health and exercising their right to vote is one of the most cynical things I’ve seen during my time in public service.”

Democratic Reps. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, and Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, joined Hintz in introducing the bill.

“We cannot allow the confusion and fear that surrounded the 2020 Spring Election to happen again,” Spreitzer said in the release. “Deciding now to move our elections to vote by mail for the rest of the year will give state and local officials time to plan and execute a safe, smooth, and secure election.”

Republican leaders in the Legislature have not responded to the bill’s introduction.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, did not act on proposals from Gov. Tony Evers that would have moved the spring election to an all-mail system, saying it was too close to the election when Evers made the proposals.

In their release, the Assembly Democrats said they want to get the “legislation done as soon as possible.”