Republicans say pending legislation could make it easier to commit election fraud in Wisconsin.
The proposed bill would automatically register Wisconsinites to vote when they register with a state agency, such as the DMV. It would also simplify the process of requesting an absentee ballot, and allows voters to permanently receive one.
Those provisions are among the chief concerns of Republicans at the state Capitol, who say the bill would remove important safeguards in preventing election fraud. State Representative Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) says groups could use the information contained on an automatic voter registration list to determine if a person has voted recently. If they haven’t, he says there’s nothing to stop them from falsely obtaining an absentee ballot in that person’s name, which could result in thousands of fraudulent votes being cast.
In a statement, state Representative Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) said Republican claims are nothing more than fear mongering. He also claimed the bill would actually make election more secure and would improve voter access at the polls.
Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says it’s just an attempt by Democrats to hold on to power.
The bill could receive a vote in the Legislature by the end of next week.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:19)