Today, a group of Democratic legislators introduced a bill that would require all elected state officials to serve as poll workers during elections. The legislation wouldn’t apply to members of the judiciary, but it would apply to Wisconsin’s Senators and Assembly members.
The only exception is if the official is on the ballot.
Representative Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) said during a press conference today that the proposal will increase transparency in the state’s election processes.
“By requiring our non-judicial state elected officials to receive the same training as election officials in their district, we can increase knowledge, understanding and confidence in an election administered fairly and without doubt,” Appleton said.
Since the November Presidential election, Republicans at both a state and federal level have cast doubt on the process Last month, the Wisconsin State Assembly greenlit a committee-led investigation into Wisconsin’s Presidential election, granting that body the ability to subpoena testimony.
Democrats, elections officials, voting rights advocates, state and federal courts have all said that there were no irregularities in the November election. Democrats and voting rights advocates say that election investigations — both in Wisconsin and elsewhere — are based solely on the repeated lies of former President Donald Trump.
Investigations aside, Representative Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay) says the bill fills an important gap in Wisconsin’s elections — staffing.
“Clerks are finding it more difficult to recruit and retain poll workers,” Shelton said. “This bill, along with providing education and materials needed to complete poll worker training, also requires elected officials to volunteer as poll workers in their first term of office and once every three years during subsequent terms.”
Dane County clerk Scott McDonell says the bill would help lawmakers understand the process that put them in office. Last November, McDonell presided over Dane County’s vote recount — which was later challenged by the Trump campaign in court.
Said McDonell: “Many of the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of election law that have been perpetrated would hopefully be snuffed out by elected officials who would know the correct answer to the questions they’re being asked by their constituents. Many times we’ll get questions from lawmakers where they clearly just don’t understand how the election process works.”
As state Republicans continue their investigation into the election, they’re also floating a number of changes to Wisconsin’s election laws. The GOP argues those changes are necessary to improve election security. Voting rights advocates say they’re blatant attempts at voter suppression.
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