(WISCONSIN) — Today, a news report highlighted that despite Wisconsin Republicans fighting against every action that would have allowed Wisconsinites to safely and fairly vote by mail in the statewide April 7 election, 80% of these same legislators voted absentee themselves. They are taking their cue to fight against mail-in ballots, despite cases of COVID-19 spiking across the country, from Donald Trump who has continuously — and falsely — claimed mail-in ballots lead to fraud.
What’s more is that as the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans, unanimously decided to send absentee ballot request forms to 2.7 million Wisconsinites. Republicans in the legislature tried to stop it from happening.
- Wisconsin Republicans who oppose making it easier for people to vote absentee have taken advantage of the opportunity to vote by mail in recent elections, with more than 80% of GOP members of the state Legislature doing it in April.
- An analysis of absentee voting records provided to The Associated Press…showed a dramatic increase in absentee voting in the April presidential primary and state Supreme Court election. Republicans fought against making that election mail-in only as Democrats and Gov. Tony Evers proposed.
- In the November 2018 and 2016 presidential elections, only around 33% of Republican state senators and 18 percent or less of Assembly members voted absentee. In April, that jumped to 81% of Assembly Republicans, 51 out of 63, and 83% of Senate Republicans, 15 out of 19.
- President Donald Trump and Republicans have alleged, without evidence, that absentee voting leads to widespread fraud.
- Trump last week said the growing use of mail-in ballots is the “biggest risk” to his reelection, and his chances may hinge on whether he can successfully block efforts to make voting by mail easier during the pandemic.
- Some Wisconsin Republican were outspoken after the April election against a plan by the bipartisan state elections commission to mail absentee ballot applications to 2.7 million voters.
- Wisconsin lawmakers have also previously passed laws limiting the time that votes can be cast absentee before an election; limiting locations where voters can vote in-person absentee; and made it more difficult to obtain the ballot.
- But Assembly Republicans also rejected a call from Democrats to make all elections in 2020 mail-in only, with in-person voting only for those who couldn’t cast absentee ballots.
- Republican Rep. Rick Gundrum, of Slinger, circulated a letter opposed to the elections commission sending the absentee ballot application.
- Gundrum cast absentee ballots in four elections since 2018, including the April presidential primary.
- Nearly every Republican member of the Legislature has voted absentee at least once over the past two years.
- The analysis showed that 94% of Senate Republicans and 92% of those in the Assembly voted absentee since 2018.