Democrats, Republicans launch VoteSafe chapter in Wisconsin

MADISON — Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and former Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen will lead a new bipartisan group promoting absentee voting and safe in-person voting this fall.

Kaul and Van Hollen announced Tuesday that they will serve as co-chairmen of a new Wisconsin chapter of VoteSafe. Members include former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum; Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, all Democrats; and former U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, a Republican.

VoteSafe is a national cross-partisan coalition of election administrators and organizations that works to promote safe voting during the coronavirus pandemic. The coalition advocates for expanded access to absentee ballots and safe, sanitary in-person voting. Former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm serve as national co-chairs. Ridge is a Republican; Granholm is a Democrat.

Kaul and Van Hollen told reporters during a video conference that the Wisconsin chapter doesn't plan on lobbying legislators to make changes to election law. The chapter will instead focus on outreach, informing people through media coverage how to vote by absentee ballot and that the mail-in system is secure. They will also stress that in-person voting can be done safely.