MILWAUKEE — One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross today applauded the 11-4 vote by the Milwaukee Common Council to place an advisory referendum on the city of Milwaukee April election ballot to allow citizens to vote to in support of preserving same-day voter registration. Mayor Tom Barrett has indicated he would support the referendum if the Common Council agreed to place it on the April ballot.
Ross commented, “Across the state and in Milwaukee, literally millions of legal voters have used same day voter registration to do their civic duty and make their voice heard on Election Day. Same day voter registration is working, and it ought to be protected, not eliminated for partisan political reasons as Gov. Walker and Republican state legislators have advocated.”
According to the state Government Accountability Board (GAB), same day voter registration is utilized by 10 to 15 percent of electors in major statewide elections, and national research suggests states with same day voter registration have voter turnout 5 to 7 percent higher than states without same day voter registration. In the November 2012 election, 54,000 (19%) of Milwaukee voters utilized same day registration.
“An April referendum on same day voter registration will give Milwaukee voters the chance to tell these anti-Democracy politicians in no uncertain terms that our state government ought to protect and expand our rights, not take them away,” said Ross.
After the November elections, various Republican leaders, including Gov. Scott Walker, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assistant Senate Republican Leader Glenn Grothman publicly supported the elimination of same day voter registration. The latest efforts to manipulate elections come on the heels of the passage of an unconstitutional voter ID law that could disenfranchise 300,000 legal voters and their gerrymandering state legislative districts that let the GOP add legislative seats despite getting over 170,000 fewer votes than Democrats.
He concluded, “The electoral impropriety in Wisconsin today is politicians trying to manipulate the rules and make it more onerous for legal voters to cast their ballots. With the April referendum in support of same day voter registration, people will have the chance to tell them to stop putting their partisan political interests before our right to vote.”