Wisconsin Governor Signs Two Pro-Voting Bills Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed two voting-related bills into law, which increase the penalties for assaulting election workers and prohibit municipalities from closing more than half of its polling places within 30 days of an election.

Senate Bill 822, which was passed with bipartisan support, makes physically assaulting an election worker a Class I felony in Wisconsin, punishable up to 18 months in prison. The law also criminalizes publicizing election workers’ personal information — including their phone numbers, addresses or any other identifying information — while knowing it could lead to threats or harm as a misdemeanor. 

The second bill signed by Evers, Assembly Bill 298, also passed in a bipartisan vote and ensures that no city can close more than half of their polling places 30 days or less before an election. The bill also ensures that city officials post public notices before the closure of any polling place outside of that polling location’s window. 

Republican state Sen. Andre Jacque, who co-sponsored the bill, said that the new law will help prevent city officials “from disenfranchising their citizens with surprise polling location closures” and “protect our right to vote by making sure local officials notify us early about proper polling locations so we can submit our votes on time,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal. 

Evers, however, vetoed a number of voter suppression and intimidation measures passed by the Legislature’s Republican majority. One such would have enabled election observers to stand three or less feet away from where voters announce their name and personal information to register to vote.

“I cannot support legislation that could enable voter intimidation and prevent election workers from effectively and efficiently carrying out their important duties without interference,” Evers said in his veto, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Read Senate Bill 822 here.

Read Assembly Bill 298 here.