In November, Wisconsin’s GOP gained seats in the Senate, giving the party control over the legislature, not to mention having a Republican Governor, Scott Walker. They’ve got it all.
So what does Scotty do, a mere two weeks after President Obama’s presidential victory? Why, he announces his desire to make voting harder for more people, because, you know, that’s what democracy’s all about… at least in Walker’s narrow little mind. He suggested doing this by getting rid of same-day voter registration, something that’s been around for decades in Wisconsin.
Walker rationalizes his newest voter suppression fantasy of doing away with same-day registration by declaring that life would be easier for election clerks. He would be wrong.
But the state’s municipal clerks — the ones who run elections — are not looking to be relieved of the extra work, said Diane Hermann-Brown, election communications chairwoman for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks’ Association. In fact, eliminating the practice would create a “heavy burden” on municipalities and the state, said Hermann-Brown, who is the city clerk in Sun Prairie.
“There’s no way we’d be in favor of that,” she said.
If same-day registration were eliminated, the state would no longer be exempt from a whole raft of federal provisions, Hermann-Brown said, including requiring state social-service agencies and driver’s license bureaus to register voters.
Clerks also would be required to issue provisional ballots to voters whose registrations could not immediately be verified, she said.
Provisional ballots create headaches for clerks and voters and can also delay election results for days.
Election 2012 gave Walker and his fellow Republicans a few new headaches, of course, because President Obama won, and he won because same-day registrants tended to vote Democratic, including minorities and students.
As Hermann-Brown noted, the 1976 Legislature made this point when they passed the law: “The vote is the single most critical act in our democratic system of government … voter registration was not intended to and should not prevent voting.”