MADISON, Wis. — Undeterred by court rulings declaring previous election law changes unconstitutional and continuing federal court action on the voter ID law, Assembly Republicans today advanced new restrictions on voting that will decrease access to the franchise in Wisconsin.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “The only thing that the Assembly Campaigns and Elections majority voted to do today was to make voting more complicated and less convenient for hundreds of thousands of legal Wisconsin voters.”
Among the new voting restrictions now available to be considered by the full Assembly are:
- Restrictions on the hours of early voting that will eliminate most evening and weekend voting, including nonpartisan “souls to the polls” efforts by faith communities.
- New notice requirements on voting at assisted care living facilities for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
- Another attempt to enact a voter ID law that would allow for the segregating of ballots based on economic status and allowing challenges to a person’s declaration of poverty based on unspecified criteria.
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 under the current law provisions being attacked by the Assembly Republicans. In addition, it was estimated roughly 300,000 legal Wisconsin voters could be prevented from accessing their right to the franchise under a state voter ID law.
Ross noted that One Wisconsin Institute will be joining with other voter rights advocates in arguing against the GOP voter ID law at a December 17th state court hearing. The Institute’s amicus brief in the case exposes the lack of widespread voting impropriety in Wisconsin, including the absence of voter impersonation, the only improper voting an ID requirement would prevent. In addition, the brief notes the significant lack of access to Department of Motor Vehicle offices, based on both hours of operations and number of offices, compared to Indiana where a voter ID law was upheld by the courts.
“None of these measures will prevent voting impropriety, and they’re not intended to. Republicans are a trying to change the rules on voting, again, to give themselves a partisan political advantage. And that’s the real voting fraud in Wisconsin,” concluded Ross.