(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers want to use the state’s Constitution to do what they cannot do at the Wisconsin Capital.
Four Republicans have introduced a pair of constitutional amendments they say will close loopholes in or protect the state’s electoral process.
Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Rep. Patrick Snyder, R-Schofield, are pushing a constitutional amendment they say would protect voter ID.
“Ensuring the legitimacy of votes in an election is a prerequisite of democratic government. Wisconsin law has required the use of photo identification, with some exceptions under the law, for over a decade and voter ID requirements have consistent support nationwide,”Wanggaard and Snyder said in an email to lawmakers.
Wisconsin has had a voter ID law since 2011, when former Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law. There are some who fear the new liberal-majority Supreme Court could overturn the state’s voter ID law.
The top Democrat in the Wisconsin senate, Melissa Agard, D-Madison, said the voter ID constitutional amendment is part of a smear campaign by Republicans against elections in the state.
“This proposal is part of ongoing Republican efforts to cast doubt and sow mistrust in the safety and security of our elections,” Agard said in a statement.
The other proposed amendment Is from State Rep Ty Bodden, R-Stockbridge, and state Sen. Dewey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, and would end Wisconsin’s contract with a multi-state voter registration organization and constitutionally ban “Zuckerbucks.”
The multi-state voter registration organization, known as ERIC, is supposed to catch voter fraud across state lines. “Zuckerbucks” were the millions of dollars given for the 2020 election by the Mark Zuckerberg-backed Center for Tech and Civic Life.
Bodden says ERIC has failed to do its job for Wisconsin.
“The voter rolls are not cleaned up like they are supposed to be, and the lack of transparency is deeply concerning,” Bodden said. “ERIC is useless when it comes to in-state voter fraud measures, which only makes ERIC valuable as an interstate voter fraud database. Interstate voter roll concerns should be resolved with an organization that is less partisan, less incompetent, and more secure than ERIC is. ERIC cannot be trusted and hopefully we can lay out more of its shortcomings in a hearing.”
This is the second time the “Zuckerbucks” amendment has come before lawmakers, which means it will likely go to voters in the April election next year.
Republicans are looking to use the Constitution to change Wisconsin’s election laws because they have been blocked by Gov. Tony Evers.
Lucas Vebber, with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said constitutional amendments provide the legislature with a way around the governor, but warned it’s not an option to take lightly.
“Any amendment and its long-term ramifications must be carefully considered,” Vebber said. “That said, amending the constitution is a way for the people of Wisconsin to essentially enact law without the executive’s approval. Although, amendments must be written carefully, as they would still be subject to the court’s interpretation.”