We’ve known this bill was coming, and now here it is: a proposal by Wisconsin Republicans to cap the hours for early voting and end weekend voting altogether. Wisconsin Assembly Bill 54 got introduced and moved to committee on Friday. From the summary:
Under current law, a person may apply to the municipal clerk in person to vote using an absentee ballot. In-person applications to vote using an absentee ballot may be made beginning on the third Monday preceding the election and ending on the later of 5 p.m. or the close of business on the Friday preceding the election. Under this bill, in-person applications to vote using an absentee ballot may only be received Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. In addition, the clerk’s office may not be open more than 40 hours a week beginning on the third Monday preceding the election and ending on 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election in order to receive applications made in person. The bill does not require that the clerk’s office be open 40 hours a week to receive applications made in person.
Shorter: no more nights and weekends for early voting. In November, voters in Milwaukee County got to vote from 8:30 AM to 7 PM on weekdays, and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. The number of days and weekends had been cut in half by Republicans in 2011, but even so Milwaukee managed turnout of 87 percent. Since that election, Wisconsin Republicans have proposed ending same-day registration for ordinary voters.
(Image: The first day of early voting for president in Milwaukee/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)