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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

 9:34 PM 

Primary bill delayed

Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, objected to third reading of SB 116 -- which would move the state's fall primary up from the second Tuesday of September to the second Tuesday in August -- delaying another bill on tonight's agenda.

The chamber approved a substitute amendment from Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel, that would require the measure to go back to the Senate once it passes.

The legislation conforms to federal law requiring that military and overseas voters have at least 45 days to return absentee ballots in a general election. Federal officials denied a state request for a waiver last year, and election officials gave lawmakers until the end of this month to enact the bill in order to provide enough time to adjust for the 2012 elections.

A series of Dem amendments -- including a measure allowing clerks to send ballots to voters electronically -- were turned aside during floor debate.

Tauchen said the current bill simplifies the process for local election officials and that it's important to pass the bill now in order to conform with federal law.

Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said the chamber should instead be focused on making it easier for citizens to access absentee ballots.

The chamber is now in recess for a Rules Committee meeting.


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