Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

A group of Senate Republicans has informed Gov. Tony Evers they intend to prioritize changes to election laws in the upcoming legislative session.

In a letter to the guv yesterday, 15 members of the incoming Senate GOP caucus cited testimony from last week’s contentious joint election hearing and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack’s dissent in the Trump campaign’s unsuccessful effort to toss out ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Drawing from those sources, Republicans said it was “crystal clear” there was “exploitation” of the state’s election laws.

“It is clear, election laws must be a priority in the next session,” the letter said. “It is incumbent upon the legislative and executive branch to work together to ensure future elections are safeguarded from perversion of our election laws. Failure to do this will continue to erode the trust in our electoral process.”

The letter went on to list a number of questions Senate Republicans want to resolve, among them a host of issues raised in Trump’s unsuccessful suit. They include the following: the indefinitely confined status; “curing” absentee ballots with missing witness signatures; and the legality of Madison’s Democracy in the Park events.

In that suit, a Racine County reserve judge last week ruled “the rules and guidelines applied in each of the disputed areas are reasonable and a correct interpretation of the underlying early absentee voting laws.” A split state Supreme Court affirmed that ruling earlier this week.

The letter also raises questions about other subjects of pre-election litigation such as the accuracy of voter rolls and the distribution of funds from third-party organizations to certain cities.

A case is still pending before the Supreme Court on voter registration lists while both state and federal courts rejected lawsuits challenging grants given to the cities of Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine by the Center for Tech and Civic Life. The funding stems from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, who donated $400 million to help run elections amid the pandemic.

“These issues are bigger than any one election, and we hope we can count on you to represent the countless Wisconsin voters who question the process,” the letter said. “We hope you support common sense reforms that will ensure every election moving forward is secure, fair, and transparent.”

An Evers spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

See the letter here.

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