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VoteSafe brings bipartisan effort to absentee push

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Leaders from across the political spectrum want to assure Wisconsin voters the electoral process is safe and secure. That's the mission behind the new VoteSafe Wisconsin coalition.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and former Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are heading-up the project, working to send a message encouraging everyone to vote whether absentee or in-person.

In a wide-ranging interview, Van Hollen spoke with News 19 about how the group will work to do just that.

JB Van Hollen: “Since COVID started and since some problems with the early elections, we are encouraging people to vote early with absentee ballots which are a very safe and secure way to vote because you can vote from home but you still need a photo ID and a witness, and to tell people that the clerks are staffing polling places much better than they were before. They've got better people there, more people, I should say, and they've got security measures in place, so that it's very safe to go to your individual polling place in your municipality. We want people to know that. We want people to vote absentee early or feel comfortable going to your polling place. When you have leaders from both political parties reaching out telling you that, hopefully it will encourage people to vote and hopefully it will eliminate some of the confusion that's been caused in the past with the political and legal wrangling over what type of voting is going to be permitted right up until the last minute.”

Dustin Luecke: “I want to touch on that with absentee voting for a minute because we see election officials and you yourself saying there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud but we see some people pointing to isolated cases saying this does exist, most notably with Wisconsin's mail-in ballots back in April. So, are you concerned at all that these cases do exist and will ramp up as we get to more absentee voting come November?”

JB Van Hollen: “I've always been concerned about voter fraud and I still am, but I want to make sure everybody who is legally entitled to vote has the ability to do so. With photo ID in place, I think we've done all we really can to stop voter fraud. Some is going to occur, and it's just the nature of the system. It's something we unfortunately have to live with. I think with our absentee voting in Wisconsin, it is still very secure. You have to provide a photo ID. You have to request the absentee ballot. It's not just mail-in voting where ballots are getting mailed to everybody. And, you have to have a witness signature on that absentee ballot, so other than eliminating absentee voting entirely, I don't think we can make it much more secure than we have in Wisconsin.”

See the full interview in the video above. To learn more about the coalition, including the research behind the message, click here.

To register and request an absentee ballot, visit MyVote.WI.gov.

Dustin Luecke

Dustin Luecke anchors News 19 Daybreak weekday mornings.

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