The GOP’s Electoral Equation: Early Voting Restrictions = Longer Lines and Less Voting

Urban Areas Would be Hit Hard by Latest Republican Attempt to Manipulate Rules on Voting for Unfair Partisan Advantage

MADISON, Wis. — An analysis of early voting patterns in Wisconsin in 2012 shows that longer waits for voters would have resulted had state Republican’s efforts to restrict the hours of early voting been in place. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that urban areas like Milwaukee would have been particularly hard hit compared to the rest of the state.

“The fact that urban areas, minorities, seniors, persons with disabilities and working families would find it harder to vote under the Republicans early voting roll back is hardly an accident,” said Ross. “This is just the latest attempt by Republicans to manipulate the rules on voting to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage.”

If the early voting period prior to the November 2012 election were subject to the 45 hour maximum limit proposed by Senate Bill 324, the City of Milwaukee would have had to process a voter once every 9 seconds and the City of Madison would have had to do so every 17.4 seconds.

Meanwhile, smaller communities like Burlington, the hometown of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos would have had 5 minutes per voter and the City of Cedarburg, represented by Assembly early voting rollback bill author Duey Stroebel, would have had over 3.5 minutes.

In discussing who would be hurt by early voting limits, City of Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht has written that, “… the majority of early voters in the City of Milwaukee are African-American. In fact, during the one weekend when Milwaukee was able to offer early voting hours, nearly one in four voters were from the two aldermanic districts with the highest concentration of African-American voters.”

“It’s black and white what’s going on here – white suburban Republican politicians are proposing to rig the system for their own advantage and leave urban and minority voters with unequal access to the franchise,” said Ross. “Republicans can pass this bill and Gov. Walker may sign it, but this fight will go on until a judge signs an order declaring this assault on our right to vote unconstitutional.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.