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 recently told an audience in California that he may push for an end to Election Day Registration (EDR) in Wisconsin to take a burden off local election officials. Yet Election Day Registration 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. The role of elections officials is to help citizens exercise their right to vote.
In recent elections the League of Women Voters Wisconsin has placed observers in the polls, including here in Door County where I and another LWV member observed at 8 polling sites. We witnessed first-hand the dedication and professionalism of our poll workers, who bent over backwards to ensure that all qualified citizens had the opportunity to cast a ballot and have it counted. Yes, at some of the sites there were short lines for registration, but our voters waited patiently and were registered by calm, efficient, and helpful poll workers. Even though these voters had the “inconvenience” of waiting in two lines, they did so to vote.
Any attempt to eliminate Election Day Registration would be an attack on our voting rights, and it certainly cannot be justified as a solution to a problem … a problem that does not exist.
In the coming Legislative session, the League will be watching to see what lawmakers will do to support free, fair and accessible elections in our state. We are ready to call out anyone who introduces a bill that would restrict voting by Wisconsin citizens in the name of addressing a problem that does not exist. That is how democracy works.