After voters in every corner of this state cast absentee ballots at record rates in 2020, a few lawmakers are trying to take us backwards, creating barriers to voting for some of our most vulnerable communities and undoing the accessibility that made the previous election so successful. Our democracy works best when citizens participate in elections, and we must instead work to make sure every eligible voter in Wisconsin can cast a ballot.
A handful of Wisconsin lawmakers recently introduced a package of bills that, if enacted, would harm voters in numerous ways and increase barriers for Wisconsin voters throughout the state, targeting our most historically disenfranchised groups, including people of color and people with disabilities.
Senate Bills 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 210, 211 and 212 would destroy many of the mechanisms that have been implemented to make voting easier in Wisconsin. They would, for example, prevent election officials from proactively sending absentee ballot applications to voters, and instead require voters to request absentee ballots and transmit a copy of their identification with each request.
These bills would also require extra paperwork for voters with disabilities who are indefinitely confined, forcing them to get a doctor's note about their status. They would subject nursing-home workers who encourage residents to vote to criminal penalties! They would also prohibit people, including caregivers – in fact, anyone but immediate family members – from returning ballots for voters.
The proposed legislation also targets drop boxes, limiting them to just one per municipality and requiring them to be attached to the building where the clerk's office is located. This would undermine all of the work done over the past year to increase the number of drop boxes to make it easier for voters to cast their ballots. Limiting drop boxes would create special barriers for those with limited transportation options, and who were able, during the last election, to find a drop box closer to where they live.
None of these measures or the harsh penalties that accompany them make any sense – unless the goal is to make voting harder, not easier. That's the wrong way to go.
To preserve our democracy, the people of Wisconsin must take action and voice their opposition to this blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters. Send a message to your elected officials now and urge them to vote down these attempts to suppress the vote.
Thanks for sticking with us.