MADISON, Wis. — Not to be outdone by Assembly Republican’s reintroduction of a voter ID bill that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, Wisconsin State Senate Republicans launched their own witch-hunt against voter rights in Wisconsin today. Senate Bill 324, limiting the hours of early voting in Wisconsin, and all but eliminating evening and weekend voting options used to reduce election day congestion in communities across the state appeared before the Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs for a public hearing.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “It is appalling that Republicans would even consider passing a law that would ban communities from making it easier and more convenient for their citizens to legally participate in elections. And it is infuriating that the sponsors of the bill and those that support it have the temerity to try to disguise their proposal as anything other than the blatant, racist attack on voters in Wisconsin that it is.”
Ross noted that the bills provisions all but banning extended and weekend hours for early voting will fall most directly on urban areas, working families and nonpartisan get out the vote efforts like “souls to the polls” program run on Sundays by many churches.
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 and on weekends. “The despicable racism this bill embodies has no place in a democracy. The people behind this legislation apparently don’t get that voters are not the enemy and that legal voters doing their civic duty and voting is not a problem,” commented Ross.
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.
He concluded, “Bills like SB 324 unmask the ugly face of the real voting fraud in Wisconsin, politicians like Mary Lazich and Glenn Grothman manipulating the rules on voting for their own advantage.”