As GOP considers new bill, Dane Co. clerk says moving presidential primary “not technically possible”

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MADISON (WKOW) — Lawmakers could come back for lame duck session as early next week to consider a wide range of topics.  

Republican Representative Jim Steineke said his party hopes to draft legislation by the end of the day Friday.

“It could be one omnibus bill or it will be separate legislation,” said Steineke. “The overall goal is to make sure what we’ve done over the last eight years is codified.”

Rep. Steineke said the goal, as of Thursday afternoon, is to hold a committee hearing on legislation Monday and be on the floor Tuesday. He did not disclose which committees would meet.

GOP leaders are meeting Thursday to get a consensus of the measures they would like to pass into law before Gov.-elect Tony Evers takes office in January. 

Steineke said one topic still on the table is changing the 2020 presidential primary election to avoid falling on the same ballot as the Supreme Court.  However, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said an intervening election is “not technically possible.”   

“After more analysis by county clerks, we now think it’s impossible,” said McDonell in a memo sent to lawmakers.

McDonell said some reasons include voter confusion, technological issues with the voter registration system, and tracking absentee ballots. It’s also estimated to cost the taxpayers millions.

On Tuesday Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald said changing the presidential primary date could give Justice Daniel Kelly a better chance at winning reelection.

“(A) better chance if there’s not this competitive Democratic primary for president, that’s the concern I think,” said Fitzgerald.

This story will be updated.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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