Dane Co. Board set to consider penalty for disorderly conduct toward election officials

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 2:36 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An ordinance up for consideration by the Dane County Board Thursday night proposes making it an offense to act in a disorderly conduct toward an election official, and it would include a hefty fine.

If the updated measure is approved, the alleged offender would have to pay $500.

“We’ve seen unprecedented actions by and misinformation from elected officials and leaders designed to sow doubt in our election process,” County Board chair Patrick Miles explained. “I’m pleased we are doing what we can to ensure safe and fair elections in Dane County. There is too much at stake to let the behavior and rhetoric continue unchecked.”

The ordinance amendment would update Chapter 34 of Dane County Ordinance- Public Peace and Order.

The Dane Co. Board created an election security committee earlier this year to review what measures were already in place to protect these officials. The review committee looked into the safety of election staff, as well as of election materials, and identified any future potential threats. Dane Co. officials noted that a report of their findings will be presented in August.

The Dane Co. Board will also discuss a potential resolution that supports democracy and nonpartisan election administration, stated Dane Co. Board Supervisor Analiese Eicher (District 3).

“The elections process administered by a non-partisan election administration needs to be maintained,” Eicher said. “As we’ve seen in the last several years, attempts to undermine this process have proven to make the jobs of election officials harder and have unnecessarily eroded the trust in our democracy.”

Madison city leaders announced a similar proposal last week that would increase the penalty for those convicted of threatening people who carry out elections. Citing a poll of election workers about the threats they and their co-workers experienced, officials proposed changing a city ordinance to increase the fine for disorderly conduct against an election worker to as much as $1,000 per offense.

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