Republicans in several states including Wisconsin are holding lame-duck sessions to block or cripple the power of their incoming rivals, but citizen-rights groups say voters are the ones being stripped of their power.
Groups like One Wisconsin Now have claimed the last-minute push by the GOP-controlled Legislature to change the upcoming presidential primary date and neuter Gov.-elect Tony Evers influence over his state agencies is an assault on democracy. Mike Brown is deputy director of the organization, which successfully challenged previous attempts to limit early voting which they believed targeted African American voters.
"The underlying theme though that it's just incredibly disrespectful to the 2.6 million-plus voters who cast a ballot in this most recent election and made a choice and sent a message,” Brown said. “You know, Democrats were elected to every statewide office on the ballot."
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald downplayed concerns and criticism. The GOP held a similar power grab two years ago in North Carolina, and it's expected that the same will happen in Michigan before another Democratic governor takes office there.
Other changes include weakening the attorney general's office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to dive into some cases with their own attorneys. Roughly 565,000 people voted during the midterms, and Brown said Republican leadership should stop and listen.
"When you give voters the opportunity to vote, they will vote,” he said. “You know, we saw record turnout in this November midterm election in which people very clearly said they were ready for a change; they've had enough of the partisan games, they wanted people to work together to solve problems."
Since 2011 Republicans have held majorities in the state Senate and Assembly. They will maintain that majority in the statehouse when Gov.-elect Evers takes over.