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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wireman; Same Day Voter Registration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director November 28, 2012 608-256-0827; kaminski@lwvwi.org Beware of Partisan Efforts to Restrict Voting By Andrea Kaminski The role of elections officials is to help citizens exercise their right to vote. The League of Women Voters has placed observers in the polls statewide in four elections over the past 15 months. They have consistently commented on the dedication and professionalism of our poll workers, almost all of whom bend over backwards to ensure that all qualified citizens have the opportunity to cast a ballot and have it counted. We wonder how many local elections officials the Governor surveyed before he concluded that Election Day Registration is “difficult for them to handle.” Wisconsin can be proud of its high voter turnout for the general elections on November 6. With 2.9 million citizens voting, our state as usual ranked near the top in citizen participation. People know that Election Day is the one time when all citizens are equal in the greatest democracy in the world. Yet some politicians are talking about introducing new legislation to restrict voting in our state. They have said they will introduce new voter ID legislation, despite the fact that two judges have ruled the last voter ID law unconstitutional. Additionally, Governor Walker last week told an audience in California that he may push for an end to Election Day Registration (EDR) in Wisconsin. He said this would take a burden off local election officials. Yet EDR allows many first-time voters to participate and ensures that recent moves or name changes do not impact a citizen’s ability to vote. It has worked well for Wisconsin for more than 30 years. Any attempt to eliminate EDR would be an attack on voting rights, and it certainly cannot be justified as a solution to a problem that does not exist. We’ve been down that road before, with the voter ID law. In our democracy it is the job of the legislature to write and pass bills, and then the Governor has the power to sign a bill into law. Lawmaking should be done with humility and accountability. Legislation should address real problems and seek to fix them. In the process of introducing new legislation, lawmakers should seek public input – from their constituents, citizens in Wisconsin, not from potential donors in California or the national media.

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