After Sen. Steve Nass dinged her over the pace at which elections-related bills are moving out of committee, Sen. Kathy Bernier fired back by referring to her GOP colleague as a “career politician.”
Republicans have proposed a string of bills to overhaul election procedures, many of them reflecting the complaints former President Trump raised in his unsuccessful attempt to overturn Wisconsin’s election results through the courts.
Nass, R-Whitewater, late yesterday said authors of eight bills have been working to get them out of committee for weeks, but “have been met with resistance to action by the committee chair.” He called on GOP leadership to “act boldly” and schedule a floor day next week solely to take up election bills.
Nass didn’t refer to Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, by name, but complained the bills were “stalled” in the Elections, Election Process Reform and Ethics Committee she chairs.
“No more delays and No more excuses,” Nass said.
His complaint came after the Elections Committee canceled a planned vote yesterday on a bill seeking to make it a felony for an employee of a retirement home or residential care facility to influence a resident’s decision to obtain an absentee ballot and how they cast their vote.
On Monday, bill co-author Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, introduced a substitute amendment to the bill. It included a new provision that would require municipal clerks to examine at least 10 percent of the absentee ballots and envelopes returned from a nursing home or care facility and attempt to contact the voter to ensure they intended to cast their ballots in the election. Voters who couldn’t be reached would be presumed to have intended to cast the ballot.
Committee clerk Nathan Duerkop told WisPolitics.com SB 205 and a second bill to reimburse local governments for the costs of special elections were removed from yesterday’s planned executive session over confusion about committee members’ readiness to vote.
Bernier, a former county clerk, said election law is complicated and takes time to get right.
“Any perceived delays are due to crafting good policy. If that were something career politician Steve Nass ever attempted to do, he’d understand that,” Bernier said.