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NOT SO FRESH START: Pair of Wisconsin Republicans Kick off New Session by Trying to Cut Same-Day Voter Registration

Hey Joel Kleefisch, Tom Sizemore called and he wants his DNA back...

To start off the new legislative session, Wisconsin Republican State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative Joel Kleefisch are drafting throwback legislation that recalls the good old days of yore: Summer 2012.

The two forward-thinker’s worst nightmares are putting together a bill to end same-day voter registration and courting co-sponsors. Hey, might as well get a four-year, not a one-year jump on destroying Democracy next time around, right?

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) lamented the timing of the proposed bill, calling it,

“especially surprising after a campaign focused on bipartisanship that the first bill idea to come out of the gate is an extreme, social bill, not a jobs bill.”

Same-day voter registration is viewed as favorable for Democrats because those who register day-of tend to be poorer and thus more sympathetic as humans (hence their distaste for the GOP). Though unable to provide any examples, Governor Scott Walker insisted there have been problems with same-day registration for years. Still, he downplayed the importance of the matter and said the media is ”trying to make a huge distraction out of something that isn’t a legislative priority.”

“This is a ridiculous issue,” Walker said. “My priority is about creating jobs. It’s not one of my legislative priorities.”

The Wisconsin Municipal Clerks’ Association is opposed to changing the law and a representative of the Government Accountability Board said he knew of “no problems caused by it.”

Dane County leaders have asked that the public be given a voice on the issue. Incoming Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell wants to see the issue on the April ballot:

McDonell said the proposal is an attempt “to suppress turnout for partisan advantage.” Parisi, who served as Dane County clerk for eight years, said same-day registration is one of the reasons for the county’s extremely high voter turnout.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi added,

“Dane County’s nearly 85 percent turnout in last month’s election was among the best, not only in the state but the nation,”

It is likely the proposed bill will meet strong opposition and be mocked. County Clerks have indicated that eliminating same day voter registration may, in fact, create problems. Diane Hermann-Brown, election communications chairwoman for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks’ Association, said such a move would place a “heavy burden” on municipalities and the state. “There’s no way we’d be in favor of that,” she said.


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