Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Senate Approves Key Elections Bills

Yesterday, the Senate approved three crucial election reform measures. As the lead author of the bills, I am pleased to see each move a step closer toward enactment.

The first to be approved was Senate Bill (SB) 381. I drafted this legislation at the request of the Government Accountability Board. The bill adjusts the statutory timeline for canvassing election returns to accommodate the new process for provisional and absentee ballots under voter ID. SB 381 was approved with a voice vote without opposition.

In addition, the Senate approved Senate Bills 269 and 271. SB 269 loosens the residency requirement for poll workers. Under current law, poll workers must generally be residents of the municipality they serve. However, some cities, towns, and villages simply do not have enough people willing to work the polls. This bill states that a poll worker may work at any polling place in their county, rather than just their municipality.

SB 271 provides that a person voting absentee may not vote in person in the same election. The practice of voting absentee and in person is already seemingly contradictory to state statute because voting more than once is a Class I felony, however the GAB does not interpret it that way. 

Current practice allows a voter to cast a ballot in person after voting absentee in the same election. It is up to poll workers to flag the voter’s absentee ballot before it is counted, and this is not always possible.

Consequently, the statutory change in SB 271 will ensure that all citizens get one vote – not more, not less. 

SB 271 also includes a provision allowing for an absentee voter to get a new ballot upon their ballot being defective, spoiled, or the certificate is incomplete.

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