MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republicans continue to build on their shameful record on voter rights, today considering legislation that would ban communities from offering early voting in the evening after 6pm or on weekends. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the legislation, Assembly Bill 54, and comments from the Chair of the Senate Elections Committee reported by the WisPolitics news service predicting passage of the measure.
He commented, “This is yet another shameful example of politicians manipulating the rules on voting to try to give themselves an unfair advantage. Today the chair of the Senate Elections Committee is using the depth and breadth of experience she’s gained in her 20 plus years in public office not to improve elections but to make it more complicated and less convenient for voters to participate.”
In November 2012 nearly 400,000 Wisconsin residents took advantage of early voting and roughly one in four ballots cast in 2008 were cast early. Several local clerks, including those in the City of Milwaukee and Madison, responsible for administering elections, offered extended hours for voting to allow working people to participate in democracy and cast their vote after work or on weekends.
Among faith communities, churches organize non-partisan weekend voter participation drives to increase community involvement in voting – efforts that the bill before the Senate Elections Committee appears to have specifically targeted for elimination.
Ross concluded, “In their racist zeal to target urban voters with new restrictions, Republicans are poised to make it less convenient for everyone to cast a ballot. The racism and contempt for the fundamental principle of democracy that this bill embodies is topped only by the complete lack of common sense on display by its authors and supporters.”