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Wisconsin Senate set to approve Republican election changes

Associated Press

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate was set Wednesday to pass a host of Republican-authored changes to Wisconsin elections, including a prohibition on accepting private grants to aid election administration.

The proposals are part of a larger package of GOP-authored measures addressing issues former President Donald Trump and his supporters raised following Joe Biden’s narrow win in battleground Wisconsin. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has complained about Republican attempts to make absentee voting more difficult, is almost certain to veto every one of them.

The bills up on the Senate floor on Wednesday don’t make major changes to the absentee system. The most prominent measure would prohibit the state elections commission and local governments from applying for or accepting private grants to aid election administration.

The bill comes after Republicans accused Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich of handing over control of the November election in that city to partisan Democrats funded by a grant from the nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life. The nonprofit’s grants were funded by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.

Another proposal would allow recount observers to watch from an area not more than 3 feet from workers and wear campaign logos.

An election worker who obstructs an observer would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine. That bill comes after Trump supporters complained they weren’t given close enough access to watch Wisconsin’s presidential recount.

Two other bills would allow the state elections commission to order municipal clerks to follow state law and allow anyone who violates election law to be prosecuted in a county in the area covered by the office involved.

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