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.
I strongly oppose Senate Bill 640 (SB 640), legislation that dramatically changes the way elections are conducted in
First, the process. SB 640 (link to the bill) was introduced March 23, 2010 and is now being rammed through the Legislature in the final three weeks of the current legislative session. Following introduction, a joint public hearing was held eight days later with executive sessions in committee to vote on the bill the day after the public hearing. Serious, problematic changes in our voting system are being rushed.
Secondly, the substance. The bill would automatically register voters during driver license renewal. No other state has such a law.
SB 640 also allows municipalities to set up satellite absentee ballot stations for early voting, changes the current practice of allowing any citizen to challenge individual ballots, grants permanent absentee ballot status to voters that historically do not vote in low-turnout elections, allows university IDs to be used as proof of residence, and requires municipalities to hire speakers of a foreign language if at least five percent of the adults in their district are not English proficient.
The stunning changes are an open invitation to voter fraud and erode confidence in our election system that has seen its integrity questioned amid reports of fraudulent voting.
Last week, the Joint Finance Committee approved the election reform package along party lines. Wispolitics.com reports:
“The committee also approved a substitute amendment that makes changes to how electors can be challenged under the bill. The original bill requires that challengers be from the ward of the elector. The sub says that challengers can be from the county of the elector. An amendment introduced in JFC by Sen. John Lehman removed a provision that would have required a challenger to come from the aldermanic ward of the elector in
If proponents of SB 640 are serious about making positive change to restore credibility in
Legislation with provisions that have serious consequences affecting our voting system should be addressed carefully. Instead, this bill is on the fast track. I can only suspect the intent of proponents is to continue to water down election oversight to build upon their voter base.
SB 640 is available to be scheduled by the Senate and Assembly. If SB 640 is scheduled for state Senate floor debate, I will be voting no.