MADISON – After a bombshell story in Wisconsin Spotlight exposed partisan groups taking over elections, State Senator Alberta Darling is calling for Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to further investigate. As millions of outside dollars flowed into the state to influence the election, the city of Green Bay pushed aside the local clerk and actually gave keys and access to ballots to an outside, partisan activist before November 3rd. State Senator Alberta Darling is calling for an investigation.
“This story raises significant questions about how Green Bay, and possibly other communities in our state, handled the November election,” Darling said, “While we work to pass legislative reforms, I urge Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to conduct an investigation into these findings further to help restore confidence and integrity in our elections.”
Findings in the story include:
- A Democratic operative had access to absentee ballots and given keys to the central count area before November 3rd.
- Outside operatives sought to assist in correcting absentee ballots returned to the city clerk’s office in Green Bay.
- Outside Operatives may have assisted Milwaukee with rejected absentee ballots.
- The Clerk’s office made local political leaders aware of the frustrations and possible violations but was largely ignored.
- Despite these complaints from the Green Bay clerk, the outside operators were given more control over the election.
- Brown County’s clerk said Green Bay went “rogue.”
“Local political leaders took outside money and let partisan operatives take control of the election process in Green Bay,” Darling said, “Wisconsin law is clear. Clerks are in charge of the elections, not outside groups. Emails obtained suggest Green Bay’s election was run by a partisan group that had access to ballots and were calling the shots. It is time to reform our elections and restore confidence in our system.”
Recently, Senator Darling and Senator Duey Stroebel unveiled a package of ten bills to help restore trust in state elections.
The Darling/Stroebel Election Reforms Include
- Prohibiting Private Funding of Elections: Direct any non-government entity seeking to donate funds or resources for election administration to send the money to the Elections Commission, which distributes the money on a per-capita basis statewide.
- Ballot Integrity Act: Reinforces state law that says voters, not clerks should fix any errors on a ballot.
- Ballot Security Act: State law doesn’t allow for the use of drop boxes, even though many were used in the 2020 election. This bill will make sure drop boxes are a safe and secure option for voters.
- Election Observer Protection: Will make sure the public has equal access when observing the election process.
- Standardizing Absentee Ballot Requests: Everyone who votes absentee in Wisconsin will fill out the same form.
- Security of Returned Absentee Ballots: Clarify that a family member, guardian, or non-candidate, unpaid designee for those without family may return completed absentee ballots for others. A designee may only return one non-family member’s ballot per election.
- Absentee Ballot Uniformity: Ensure that all absentee voters who possess a photo ID to present that ID in order to receive an absentee ballot.
- WEC Meeting Minutes Transparency: Require the Elections Commission to publish their meeting minutes (to include votes taken and motions considered) on their state website.
- Long-term Care Facility Voter Integrity: Ensure family members know when voting occurs in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, prohibit any employee of such a facility from influencing a resident’s decision to vote or not vote.
- Indefinitely Confined Voter Reform: Require statements of indefinite confinement to be made under oath with penalties for false statements, clarify that a pandemic does not grant indefinitely confined status.
Senator Darling represents portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.