Mar 27, 2014

Scott Walker Signs Bill Slashing Early Voting

Update: See also Cursed With Nation’s Second-Highest Turnout Rate, Wisconsin Restricts Early Voting (Weigel. Slate); and Wisconsin’s Walker restricts early voting (Benen. TRMS), and GOP Steps Up Attack on Early Voting in Key Swing States (Berman. The Nation).

To no one's surprise, Scott Walker signed a bill slashing early voting, outlawing cities from weekend voting.

All Wisconsin Republicans went along with the latest scheme in the attack on voting, except Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).

A constitutional challenge is likely.

No reaction from Mary Burke, prompting more speculation that another, more activist candidate will get in the Democratic primary.

One Wisconsin Now reacted along with every good government and voting rights groups the same way:

Despite widespread public opposition, Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed into law new restrictions on early voting today. Walker's acquiescence to the latest racist, anti-voter scheme by Republicans eliminates weekend early voting in Wisconsin and outlaws municipalities offering citizens the ability to vote in the two weeks prior to Election Day before 8am or after 7pm.

One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross commented, "Gov. Walker has made his choice. He's put his political ambitions first and turned his back on the constitutional right of Wisconsinites to vote. He is aiding and abetting the fraudulent manipulation of the rules on voting being perpetrated by the Republican controlled legislature."

Early voting has become an increasingly popular way for Wisconsinites to do their civic duty and have a say in the direction of their communities. In fact, 58 Republican legislators who have supported restrictions on early voting have themselves voted early.

The impacts of the law will be felt heavily in urban areas where long lines are a serious issue at the polls and creates significant new challenges for minorities, seniors, working families and persons with disabilities in accessing the franchise.

Walker signed the legislation despite a mere 12% of respondents in a recent statewide poll endorsing the new restrictions on early voting proposed in the bill presented to Walker for his signature.

"This fight is far from over. It may be Governor Walker's signature on the bill today, but this fight will end when a judge signs an order declaring this latest Republican attack on voting unconstitutional," concluded Ross.


  1. Can someone explain how lessening someone's opportunity to vote enhances or makes my opportunity to vote easier or better. Seems like all we've done is lessened the chance to vote for some but did nothing for the greater good of voting. Sounds like a rather undemocratic election policy. If it doesn't improve our election turnouts why was it needed?

    1. The stated rationale - uniformity and fairness - is a joke. If uniformity were really an objective, then large population centers would be budgeted much higher so each voter spends roughly the same amount of time voting.