MADISON, Wis. — A federal court ruling in the voting rights suit One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, et. al. paved the way for expanded days, hours and sites for early voting in Wisconsin. According to the latest figures from the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), the votes are in, and early voting is a resounding success with a record 650,808 ballots cast early, in-person. In total, over 797,000 votes were cast in Wisconsin either early in-person or via mail-in absentee ballot according to the November 7 WEC report.
“The votes are in on early voting, and it is an amazing success” said One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross. “These record numbers show that voters vote when given the opportunity to vote. And expanded early voting makes it easier and more convenient than ever for legal voters to participate in our democracy.”
Previously, state law had limited municipalities to only having one early voting location and laws passed by the Republican controlled legislature and Gov. Walker limited both the time period during which early voting could be offered to the ten business days before the election and limited the maximum hours for early voting.
When the federal court struck down the last round of anti-voter laws concocted by Gov. Scott Walker, Robin Vos and the Republican legislature he found that they were rigging the rules on voting to give themselves an unfair advantage and disenfranchising legal voters because of where they lived and who they voted for. In his ruling, Judge James Peterson wrote that “The Legislature’s immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective…” in passing early voting restrictions and that the measures were designed to suppress the votes of legal voters.
Despite the strong support for early voting across the state top Republicans are already advocating for new restrictions to limit voter participation in elections. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos is suggesting he will push to pass new limits on early voting in Wisconsin.
Ross concluded, “Why in the world does Robin Vos want less democracy? Every legal voter in every corner of our state deserves to have the opportunity to vote for whomever they choose and to have that vote counted. And that’s what we will fight for in the legislature and in the courts.”