Brief

Report shows evolving anti-democratic threats, election subversion in Wisconsin, nationwide

By: - August 25, 2022 6:00 am
Right-wing protesters gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department on Nov. 4, 2020, demanding that all ballots for Donald Trump be counted. Inside the building, election workers were busy counting hundreds of thousands of ballots. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Right-wing protesters gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department on Nov. 4, 2020, demanding that all ballots for Donald Trump be counted. Inside the building, election workers were busy counting hundreds of thousands of ballots. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

A report released Wednesday warns that legislative action, a right-wing judicial system and misconduct by election officials are threatening free and fair elections in Wisconsin and across the country. 

The report, an update to a previous one written by the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy and Madison-based Law Forward, shows that Wisconsin’s 38 proposed pieces of legislation to overhaul the state’s election system are part of a larger trend. In total, the report found that as of July 31, 244 elections-related bills have been introduced in 33 states. 

Across the country, 50 of the bills — which would allow state legislatures to interfere with elections — were enacted. In Wisconsin, most of the introduced legislation was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. 

Wisconsin, which has seen conspiracy theories about the election play a major role in the state’s politics in the last two years, had more election-related bills introduced than any other state. Only Arizona, which had 35 bills introduced, comes close. 

“As we have tracked over time, the risk of election subversion is evolving, too — and it’s not limited to state legislatures,” Elizabeth Pierson of Law Forward said in a statement. “Here in Wisconsin, we are watching the U.S. Supreme Court as well as our own Supreme Court issue opinions that could undermine free elections, we have people pushing election lies to fuel campaigns for public office or using their current offices to destabilize our democracy, and we have seen election administrators leaving their posts. This latest update puts it all together to sound the alarm that our democracy is in trouble.”

See recent coverage in the Wisconsin Examiner of other national legislation relating to voting and elections from States Newsroom’s democracy reporter, Kira Lerner here and here.

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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.

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