(File photo: WRN)

(File photo: WRN)

Republicans file suit against the Government Accountability Board over a newly-designed ballot slated for use in the November general election. The lawsuit argues the new ballot format unfairly favors Democrats and will confuse voters.

Kevin Kennedy with the GAB says it’s not unusual to have a ballot change — or to have someone object to that change. Even he has some “quibbles” with the final design, but at some point, he says, one has to draw the line. “So there’s always ballot challenges. On one level, the fact that someone is raising a question is not unusual.” However, he says, “The fact that someone attributes any partisan motivation to the staff of the GAB is where I would use the term that it’s absurd.”

The day before the lawsuit was filed Kennedy defended the design, saying GAB staff dedicate themselves to being “fair and impartial.” He told reporters in Madison, the staff is looking for the best ballot design. “They’re not perfect; they’re not experts,” he says, “I have quibbles with the way some of the things came out, but I don’t think the issue that’s been presented is anything other than something to gin up a lot of partisan activity on this.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told talk show host Charlie Sykes on Milwaukee’s WTMJ this morning the new ballot design would “clearly benefit the Democrats right before the election.” He said it’s part of a bigger “subliminal” and “intrusive” strategy. Vos added, “Democrats are looking for any advantage they can, even if it is small or slight, to be able to get their candidates elected.”

Republicans want a declaration that the new ballot violates state law, a ban on a requirement that local clerks use that new GAB-approved ballot template, and an order for the GAB to tell municipal clerks to use the old design. Kennedy estimates it would cost “several hundred thousand dollars” to redesign and print new ballots.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) filed the lawsuit Wednesday morning in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

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