March 13, 2014

Mike Browne, Deputy Director
(608) 444-3483

Fifteen GOP Senators Supporting Attack on Early Voting Have Themselves Voted Early

Their Vote on Bill, ‘An Almost Unbelievable Act of Hypocrisy’

Mary Lazich

MADISON, Wis. — A review of publicly available records reveals 15 of the 17 state Senators who supported legislation to restrict early voting hours in Wisconsin have themselves voted early. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross decried the hypocrisy these GOP Senators have piled on top of the disdain for democracy revealed as they try to make it harder and less convenient for legal voters to vote.

That these senators would vote to make it harder for their fellow citizens to cast an early ballot in elections, just as almost every single one of them has, is an almost unbelievable act of hypocrisy,” said Ross.

All 17 Senators voting for early voting restrictions except Vukmir and Kedzie have themselves cast a ballot prior to Election Day. Of special note, bill author Sen. Glenn Grothman has voted prior to Election Day via absentee ballot 7 times in the last 10 years, including twice in 2012. In addition, Senator Mary Lazich, chair of the Senate Elections Committee, cast her ballot before Election Day 5 times since 2009.

Under the terms of Senate Bill 324, local election officials would be prohibited from allowing people to vote early in-person at their municipal clerk’s office via absentee ballot before 8am or after 7pm on weekdays or for more than 45 hours per week. Weekend in-person absentee voting would be banned.

Early in-person voting has become increasing popular in recent years as a convenient way for voters to do their civic duty and cast a ballot in elections. Early voting can also help reduce election day overcrowding at polling locations and provide a convenient, accessible option for seniors and persons with disabilities to cast their ballot. The impact of an early voting ban would fall especially hard on urban areas of the state with large minority populations.

Ross concluded, “Elections are the one time everyone — regardless of age, race or income — is equal. Our government ought to be making it as convenient as possible for legal voters to participate in our democracy. But apparently these Republican Senators believe they deserve to be more equal than others,” concluded Ross.