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Bill setting up early absente ballot count in Wisconsin likely dead



FILE - Recount observers watch ballots during a Milwaukee hand recount of Presidential votes at the Wisconsin Center, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wis. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican-authored bill that would authorize local election clerks to begin counting absentee ballots a day earlier is likely dead.

Right now clerks can’t start counting absentee ballots until the day of the election. Assembly Republicans last week amended a Senate bill that would have protected clerks who report irregularities to allow clerks to to being counting absentee ballots the day before the election. Releasing results early would be a felony. The Assembly passed the measure that same night and sent it over to the Senate.

The Senate’s last session day for 2022 is Tuesday and the bill isn’t on the agenda. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu’s spokesman, Adam Gibbs, said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that the chamber won’t take up the bill. He didn’t offer any explanation.

Conservatives have pushed back against the bill over the last several days. Rep. Janel Brandtjen, chairwoman of the Assembly’s elections committee, has said the bill just gives partisan election officials an extra day to cheat.

Republicans continue to insist that President Joe Biden somehow stole the election from Donald Trump, although they haven’t produced any evidence widespread fraud. A number of court challenges, a recount and a state audit have confirmed that Biden defeated Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin.

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