IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Wis. clerk rejected voting site because she feared helping Dems

Why can't the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay have an an on-campus site for early voting? The answer is the basis for a new controversy.
Voters cast their vote in the Presidential elections on November, 6, 2012 in Janesville Wisconsin. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty)
Voters cast their vote in the Presidential elections on November, 6, 2012 in Janesville Wisconsin.
After voters at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay experienced long voting lines during the state's April 5 presidential primary, a variety of student groups -- including those representing campus Republicans and Democrats -- encouraged the city to add an early-voting location on university grounds. The city, Wisconsin's third largest, refused.Green Bay instead said it would have one early-voting site for the entire city: a clerk's office with limited hours, which isn't within walking distance from the campus. Officially, City Clerk Kris Teske, an ally of Gov. Scott Walker (R), said Green Bay didn't have the necessary resources for another voting location.But unofficially, it was a very different story. The Nation's Ari Berman, relying on documents obtained through an open-records request by the One Wisconsin Institute, reported yesterday:

[P]rivately Teske gave a different reason for opposing an early-voting site at UW–Green Bay, writing that student voting would benefit the Democratic Party."UWGB is a polling location for students and residents on Election Day but I feel by asking for this to be the site for early voting is encouraging the students to vote more than benefiting the city as a whole," she wrote on August 26 in an e-mail to David Buerger, counsel at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. "I have heard it said that students lean more toward the democrats.... I have spoken with our Chief of Staff and others at City Hall and they agree that budget wise this isn't going to happen. Do I have an argument about it being more of a benefit to the democrats?"

State Rep. Eric Genrich, who's tried unsuccessfully to expand voting opportunities in Green Bay, told The Nation, "Whether or not more students voting benefits Democrats is beside the point and that shouldn't be the position of a nonpartisan city clerk. I don't know what Kris's politics are, but it's really unfortunate to see her echoing the sentiments of Republicans in Wisconsin, who have been making it really difficult for citizens to vote in this state."Analiese Eicher, program director at One Wisconsin Institute, "Voters across the ideological spectrum will be outraged that partisan considerations by a Republican political appointee led to students not getting the access to early voting they would have otherwise."When the Associated Press reached out to the clerk for an explanation, she declined to comment.