The other day while talking to a cadre of conservatives in California, Walker said that same-day voter registration was causing “real problems” for volunteer poll workers who must deal with soooo many people who “come at the last minute”.
“It’d be much better if registration was done in advance of election day. It’d be easier for our clerks to handle that. All that needs to be done.”
Governor Walker is discussing the health and welfare of the average Wisconsin election worker AFTER it became clear that the voters of Wisconsin soundly rejected Mitt Romney.
There’s no telling if he’s serious or just trying to explain away the embarrassing fact that Paul Ryan’s home turf gave Obama the largest margin of any of the battleground states.
If Scott Walker would so graciously sit down to discuss these matters with people like me, I bet he and I could agree that early voting would make life easier for Wisconsin clerks AND Wisconsin voters.
Oh wait a minute. GOP Republicans lopped off 2 weeks of early voting as well as the 3 early voting days right before voting day making life difficult for all concerned.
I don’t buy that Scott Walker is worried about clerks
It wasn’t so long ago that the Wisconsin GOP was giving Wisconsin clerks double-work. Remember redistricting in 2011?
Remember when they changed redistricting in WI from a bottom up process to a completely top down process AND they did it right after the 72 counties had just worked FOR SIX MONTHS on creating new supervisory districts due to the census?
Exasperated quotes such as this one appeared in such not-so-liberal papers as the Appleton Post Cresdent:
“If they start messing with our lines … it’s ridiculous…We set the building blocks, we created our wards, our districts, and we’ve done a great job” – Appleton City Clerk Cindi Hesse
This way leads to provisional ballots, extra expense
Let’s say Wisconsin does lose it’s same-day registration. Going by the comments of G.A.B.’s Kevin Kennedy in this Jan 2011 article
, the result would be tens of thousands of provisional ballots cast on voting day by people who didn’t register in advance.
When I hear “provisional ballot” I think “probably uncounted ballot” –maybe close to 460,000 uncounted ballots (that’s the # of voters who used same-day registration in the 2008 presidential election).
I come to that conclusion based on the fact that a provisional ballot is meaningless unless the voter comes back.
Convenience rules in America. A two-step process is inconvenient.
I also jump to that conclusion based on some recent history:
John Kerry conceded to George Bush in 2004 despite the fact that “unofficial results showed Bush with 136,483 more votes than Kerry, although 155,428 provisional ballots, 92,672 “spoiled” ballots, additional overseas ballots, and some remaining absentee ballots remained uncounted.” –source
There’s also some track record around the U.S. linking racism with provisional ballots. Smart people argue over how it is that such things occur, but in the end it goes something like a brown guy is given a provisional ballot and a white guy isn’t. If you’d like to follow the most blatant of race-based disenfranchisement using provisional ballots, just keep watching Arizona.
FYI on Provisionals
Wisconsin does already use provisional ballots – here’s how that works:
A Wisconsinite might be forced to cast a provisional ballot if he or she can’t provide a driver’s license number on a voter registration application or if he or she is a first-time voter who registered by mail who is unable to provide the poll workers with acceptable proof of residence.In these cases, a return trip with documents in hand to the polls by 8pm same-day or else to the voter’s municipal clerk by 4PM the Friday after the election will ensure, or at least is supposed to ensure, that the vote is entered into the election’s count.
Blue cheddar bonus materials:
The push to end election-day registration in Wisconsin: How strong is the case? – Jan 2011 MJS article
UW Madison News March 21 ’11 article includes interview with demographics expert Jim Beaudoin who trained clerks and leaders around the state on WISE-LR.
Article also let’s you know this is how things were done [and how much work was done in 2011 already] before the 2010 Wisconsin GOP-dominated legislature came along and tipped everything over:
“Local redistricting begins in April and runs for six months. First, counties draw up tentative supervisory districts, then municipalities design wards to fit those districts and draw boundaries for their own local races. Finally, the counties assemble all of these into a final county redistricting plan.”