MADISON, Wis. — Sen. Glenn Grothman is vigorously debating himself of all people over why his latest attack on voting rights in Wisconsin is needed. Grothman previously argued that widespread voting impropriety, a charge for which he was forced to publicly admit he had no actual proof, is the reason why Wisconsin ought to eliminate same day voter registration. But this week in a memo to colleagues seeking support for his bill to repeal the state same day voter registration law he declares it is long lines that necessitate making voting more complicated and less convenient.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “There’s a simple answer to Sen. Grothman’s dilemma – just stop trying to take away the rights of legal voters.”
Last year Grothman called for the elimination of same day voter registration in Wisconsin, a law that has been in place for nearly 40 years and helped millions of legal voters cast their ballot on election day. At the time he said widespread voting impropriety was the reason to roll back voter rights, a charge which he was forced to admit he “can’t prove” when questioned by the press.
More recently, Grothman has argued that long lines and confusion necessitate making it more difficult for voters to access the franchise. Making this particular excuse all the more galling is the lead role Grothman has taken in the drive to end evening and weekend voting, a measure that reduces polling place congestion on election day.
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.
Ross concluded, “Whatever his excuse, there’s no hiding the contempt for democracy and the rights of Wisconsin voters Sen. Grothman has shown. That fact that even he can’t settle on a good reason for making it more difficult for legal voters to vote seems to be a pretty clear sign that everyone, including Sen. Grothman, would be better off if he just cut it out.”