The Gabelman Report identified recommendations to improve the security of Wisconsin elections. As the report was delivered toward the end of the legislative session, we believe it prudent to reconvene the Legislature to allow a vote on voter protection policies that are supported by vast majority of Wisconsin voters
April 1, 2022
Speaker Robin Vos President Chris Kapenga
Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu 2 East Main Street
Madison, WI 53703
Dear Wisconsin Assembly and Senate Leadership:
The undersigned organizations respectfully request your support and prioritization in reconvening the Wisconsin Legislature into an extraordinary session for the sole purpose of using the constitutional amendment joint resolution mechanism on two specific recommendations outlined in Special Counsel Gabelman’s second interim investigative report delivered to the Wisconsin Assembly on March 1, 2022, and passing this session’s Assembly Joint Resolution 133 photo identification proposal, which did not pass both chambers of the Legislature in March. These recommendations are much-needed, pragmatic solutions that will ultimately create conditions in Wisconsin that help make it easy to vote but hard to cheat.
The first Gabelman recommendation we propose putting forth is “Maintain a Single Statewide Voter Registration Database and Make it Publicly Available and Secure.” The maintenance and ongoing use of several databases and access systems unnecessarily place an undue burden on county clerks and associated personnel in their painstaking mission to be responsible stewards of their data. Moreover, data quality and accessibility are of paramount importance in restoring voter confidence in Wisconsin elections systems, as future analysis of past data sets over time is likely to yield a more full and accurate accounting.
The second is to “Set Up an Office to Engage in Auditing and Oversight of Elections.” As laid out in the Gabelman report presented to the Assembly in March, there is currently “no office in the state of Wisconsin with an ongoing charge to audit elections, or to systematically intake and respond to citizen complaints.” For purposes of long-term improvement in the administration of elections, this step is both necessary and proper to instill transparency and accountability in the facilitation of future statewide elections and perhaps, most importantly, would make a meaningful contribution toward the restoration of voter confidence in the state of Wisconsin.
Finally, we strongly recommend reconsideration of the language embedded in Assembly Joint Resolution 133 for a photo identification requirement to be added to the Wisconsin Constitution (which did not pass both Chambers in this last session). A substantial majority of Americans nationwide (85%) support a photo identification requirement. We fundamentally believe that it is the most common-sense proposal to help ensure safe and secure elections.
Under your leadership, the Wisconsin Legislature took the unique and courageous step of establishing an audit of the 2020 election and, furthermore, funding that effort to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars of Wisconsin taxpayer money. The Gabelman Report, although delivered toward the latter end of the legislative session, identified and carefully articulated 26 recommendations to improve the security of elections in Wisconsin going forward. While we are aware of the challenges and extraordinary situation bringing the Legislature back into session this year, we believe that the unique set of circumstances that exist to ensure reform takes place before 2024 creates an immediate opportunity to act.
Reconvening would allow a vote on voter protection policies that are supported by resounding numbers of Wisconsin voters.
We stand ready and willing to commit educational and informational resources to help ensure Wisconsinites understand taking this courageous step shows leadership, commitment, and respect for taxpayer dollars.
Your consideration of these suggestions is deeply appreciated, and we are aware of the many challenges this situation presents. With this in mind, we do believe that the work you have already done could be bolstered by these further actions to help restore secure, transparent, and fair elections. America First Policy Institute is committed to assisting in any way needed in your continued efforts to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat.
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Chairman, Center for Election Integrity
America First Policy Institute
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