Republican legislative leaders sue GAB, say redesigned ballot is "flawed, confusing"

MADISON (WITI) — They're being called flawed, confusing -- even unfair. That's how two top Republican lawmakers describe a new ballot set to debut in the November election. Those politicians say the design favors the Democratic Party -- and they're going to court to stop it from being used.

On Wednesday, September 17th, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald filed the lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

"If you're going to do something as major as a ballot redesign, you should not be jamming it in at the end -- which is in essence is what they're doing. No public input, no opportunity for criticism, no opportunity for even a hearing," said Vos.

Republicans say the new ballots group the office with the first candidate listed. This November, Democrats occupy that spot. They also say it's tough to tell where one race stops and the next begins.

"Democrats are going to be in the same box where it says vote for one. I think that a fair person would say no matter what, a Republican or a Democrat, it's not the right process," said Vos.

Republicans want the new ballots stopped and the old format in place -- even as absentee ballots will appear in mailboxes soon.

"I certainly don't feel like there was any nefarious intent on anybody's part. What I'm concerned about is that we have an election that is less than seven weeks away -- and we have people that are tinkering with the rules of the game," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.

Barca says changing the ballots now could provide barriers to voting for some.

"Ballots are already out the door, going out to hundreds of thousands of more people tomorrow and once again they cause chaos and confusion," said Barca.

The director of the GAB spoke on this topic Tuesday. He said it's not unusual for the GAB to tweak ballots -- nor is it out of the ordinary for parties to sometimes object to those changes. He also called it "absurd" to suggest that these latest changes were in any way partisan.