MILWAUKEE – Today members of the Wisconsin State Senate opted to not take up a bill which would have allowed early counting of absentee ballots, due to pressure from conservative activists and lawmakers. The bill passed the State Assembly with a bipartisan majority.
“It is beyond disappointing that the State Senate would choose to block this bipartisan, common sense election bill in order to appease proponents of the Big Lie,” said Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson. “Allowing clerks to begin processing absentee ballots early is an efficient solution used across the nation, including ‘red states,’ that allows election officials to get election results out to the public faster once the polls close. It’s a proven, secure and transparent process.”
The bill would have allowed clerks to begin processing absentee ballots beginning at 7a.m. on the day before an election. This additional time to process absentee ballots would help prevent late-night reporting of results that some have seized on to make false claims of voter fraud.
The bill also would have created security requirements related to automatic tabulating equipment and ballots, including a requirement to use tamper-evident seals and store equipment and ballots in a double-locked location.
Wisconsin has some of the strictest laws in the nation around early processing of absentee ballots. It is one of just four states that does not allow election workers to “pre-process” absentee ballots until Election Day.