We're apparantly not "broke" when it comes to something Republicans want in Wisconsin (also see PvtJarHeads diary).
While Michigan Governor Snyder is ramming through a Right To Work (for much less) Bill, Scott Walker and his band of not-so-merry Republicans are waiting until the new legislative session (they'll have majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly again) to push through another of their dreams: ending Same Day Voter Registration.
Because we have same day registration, our GOTV efforts can be more focused on gathering support for progressive candidates instead of a much larger focus on voter registration. While there are voter registration activities, recruitment of voters themselves can continue through election day itself rather than ending on the last day of voter registration.
Walker announced those plans at a speech in California (not in Wisconsin) while Republican legislators were busy writing the legislation. The courts saw to it that their initial voter suppression attempt, requiring voter ID, fell flat on it's face, but they're going to try again. Wisconsin is one of 11 states that allows voters to register at the polls on election day.
Naturally, Walker didn't proclaim an end to same day registration as another flagrant attempt to suppress the right to vote for people who aren't his supports. No! Of course not! He said it was necessary to end it to help all those feeble old people who serve as poll workers during elections. Poll workers responded immediately that same day registration was not a burden and served to encourage people to vote - something they all to achieve.
Well, today the numbers are in. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, in charge of Wisconsin elections, it will cost $5.2 million for the first 2 years and those costs don't include the additional costs to local election offices.
The accountability board estimated in its report that ending election-day registration would cost the state $5.2 million for the first two years - $1.9 million for increased costs to maintain voter lists, $1.2 million in computer system upgrades, $1.2 million for an ad campaign and voter outreach and more than $800,000 for training and adding staff.There's more.
The report also said ending election-day registration would dramatically increase the provisional ballots that are cast in the state. Provisional ballots are cast when voters who don't appear on a poll list contend they are registered. Provisional ballots are not counted on election day, and clerks and voters have until the Friday after an election to determine if they were indeed registered and had the ability to vote. Any valid votes are counted at that point and added to the total.Because of Same Day Registration, we use few provisional ballots in Wisconsin which saves poll worker time as well as time checking the registration status of the user of a provisional ballot and counting that ballot if the voter is actually registered. We can also more quickly remove names from voter lists due to inactivity (i.e. not voting in several elections). Without same day registration, an extensive procedure and voter notification would be required and increase the costs to the local election offices.
"Procedures for election officials to issue, process and canvass provisional ballots are more complex and time-consuming than are those for regular ballots," the report said.
In addition, an increase in provisional ballots could delay the public from knowing the results in close elections. When the results are narrow, the outcome wouldn't be known until the provisional ballots are reviewed and counted.
We haven't had problems with same day registration because of the requirements in place that require voter and residency verification. Normally, I encourage people going to the polls to bring some form of ID and 2 recent bills (like utility bills) that were sent to them at their residence in case their name doesn't appear on the voter list and they need to register at the polls. It also ensures that everyone can vote regardless of whether or not the local election office goofed and left them off the list, didn't process their voter registration, or the computer made a mistake.
Wisconsin has allowed people to register at the polls since 1976. Because of the state law allowing election-day registration, Wisconsin is exempt from aspects of the federal Motor Voter Act of 1993 and the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. Eliminating election-day registration would make those provisions kick in and require people to be given voter registration forms at Division of Motor Vehicles offices and public assistance offices.Republicans hate same day registration because it gives people a better chance to vote.
So here's the money quote from one of the usual suspects, State Senator Glenn (the slob) Grothman (R-Wingnuttia):
Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said he had not yet reviewed the material from the accountability board and remained committed to trying to end election-day registration.(bolding is mine)
"They ought to push that out of the chute," he said. "It should be on the floor in January."
He said he believed election-day registration made it easier to commit voter fraud, though he acknowledged he had no evidence to support that is happening.
"It would be harder to cheat under Motor Voter and that's why we should go with Motor Voter," he said. "I can't prove it, but we all believe it."
That's right, just like Herman Cain, he doesn't have the facts to back it up. Typical.
Stay tuned for more.