Election reform bill advances to Assembly

Bill would allow voters to make registration changes online
The Rock County Clerk announces reissuance of ballot in City of Beloit Wards 5, 6 and7

A bill to transform election laws in the state has gotten a bipartisan overhaul.

The measure, which originally proposed revamped voter ID requirements and recall election changes, has been modified as part of a compromise between Republicans and Democrats, and now contains new elections changes.

The Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections passed the election reform bill Monday afternoon. The bill would allow voters to register to vote or change their registration online, but would also double how much money you could contribute to a political candidate from $10,000 to $20,000 during the four-year election cycle.

“This bill is going to increase transparency and disclosure because candidates and campaign committees are required to disclose donations unlike shadowy independent and often out of state third-party groups,” said Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee.

“What we’ve simply done here is open the doors to more money both to candidates and outside groups,” said Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “Disclosed? Yes. But there will be more money going to outside groups as well.”

Heck said the bill could cause even more election spending records to break, but supporters of the bill argue that donation limits haven’t been changed since 1974.

Election reform bill advances to Assembly

Both sides are supportive of the online voter registration changes as well, with the League of Women Voters and Government Accountability Board saying the process should be quicker and provide better data.

“People do banking online and all kinds of activities online that need security and it makes sense to be able to update your address when you need to and register to vote online,” said Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters.

The measure passed the committee on an 8-1 vote and will go to the full Assembly for a vote Wednesday.

Republicans said to expect many of the removed provisions from this bill to return in separate legislation in the fall.