'Outrageous': Wisconsin Republicans seek full control of state's elections in 'partisan power grab'
The term "voter suppression law" is generally used to describe the many ways in which MAGA Republicans are making it harder to vote, from restricting voting by mail, early voting and ballot drop boxes to reducing the number of polling places (often in areas that lean Democratic). But much more dangerous than those things are GOP efforts to take over the administration of elections, paving the way for Republicans to simply throw out any election results they don't like. And in Wisconsin, according to New York Times reporter Reid J. Epstein, MAGA Republicans are "engaged in an all-out assault on the state's election system, building off their attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential race by pressing to give themselves full control over voting in the state."
"The Republican effort — broader and more forceful than that in any other state where allies of former President Donald J. Trump are trying to overhaul elections — takes direct aim at the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, an agency Republicans created half a decade ago that has been under attack since the chaotic aftermath of last year's election," Epstein reports. "The firestorm picked up late last month after a long-awaited report on the 2020 results that was ordered by Republican state legislators found no evidence of fraud but made dozens of suggestions for the election commission and the GOP-led (Wisconsin State) Legislature, turbocharging Republican demands for more control of elections."
NEW: Wisconsin Republicans are staging an all-out assault on the state's election systems, trying to oust, eliminate and bypass the bipartisan WI elections commission and threatening jail for its commissioners so they can take total control for themselves.https://t.co/qW6NXZCtGV
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) November 19, 2021
This authoritarian power grab in Wisconsin is being championed by far-right U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.
Epstein reports that Johnson "said that GOP state lawmakers should unilaterally assert control of federal elections, claiming that they had the authority to do so even if Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, stood in their way — an extraordinary legal argument debunked by a 1932 Supreme Court decision and a 1964 ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court."
"Some top Republican officials in Wisconsin privately acknowledge that their colleagues are playing to the party's base by calling for state election officials to be charged with felonies or for their authority to be usurped by lawmakers," Epstein notes. "Adding to the uncertainty, Mr. Johnson's proposal has not yet been written into legislation in Madison. Mr. Evers has vowed to stop it."
Epstein notes that Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Wisconsin's 2022 gubernatorial race and hopes to run against Evers, has been campaigning on abolishing the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission — which is presently comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans.
On November 18, Evers called out Wisconsin Republicans for their "partisan power grab," saying, "The outrageous statements and ideas Wisconsin Republicans have embraced aren't about making our elections stronger; they're about making it more difficult for people to participate in the democratic process."
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