A new ballot collection box has been installed outside of Madison Fire Department Station #4, on Monroe Street, on Friday, October 16, 2020. The City of Madison Clerk’s Office is installing 14 secure ballot drop boxes outside of fire stations and at the Elver Park shelter.

GOP state Rep. Janel Brandtjen today accused Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of trying to “kneecap” her committee by sending a string of election bills to the State Affairs Committee instead.

Vos disputed the assertion, saying State Affairs is “our most versatile, flexible committee, handling a myriad of issues in a very timely matter.”‘

A dozen election bills — many co-authored by Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls — were referred today to the State Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen, R-Rhinelander. Assembly GOP leaders also referred to Swearingen’s committee amendments to ban the use of private resources to cover election costs and to add a photo ID requirement to the Wisconsin Constitution.

Brandtjen, chair of the Campaigns and Elections Committee, and Vos, R-Rochester, have been at odds over several issues related to reviews of the 2020 election.

Today, Brandtjen accused Vos of trying to subvert the legislative process and took a shot at Bernier, who has been critical of fellow Republicans who have claimed the 2020 election was stolen. She said the bills “clearly” belong before her committee.

“To take away the Assembly Committee on Campaign and Election’s ability to provide the level of scrutiny that these bills require, and the citizens of Wisconsin deserve, is unconscionable and irresponsible,” said Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls. “My question is simple: What are Robin Vos and Kathy Bernier afraid of?”

The bills would: overhaul the indefinitely confined voter statute; allow the Joint Finance Committee to punish state agencies that fail to comply with election laws; and revamp absentee ballot procedures, among other things.

Vos noted the State Affairs Committee will meet Monday to take up the bills so they can be on the floor next week.

“Hopefully all Republican members can share the credit for strengthening the integrity of our elections when these bills pass the Assembly,” Vos said.

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