Clerks say eliminating same-day voter registration would create more difficulties

2012-11-24T08:17:00Z Clerks say eliminating same-day voter registration would create more difficultiesBy Dee J. Hall | Wisconsin State Journal La Crosse Tribune

MADISON -- Gov. Scott Walker said he was only looking out for beleaguered pollworkers when he suggested during a talk in California earlier this month that Wisconsin should consider getting rid of same-day voter registration.

But the state's municipal clerks — the ones who run elections — are not looking to be relieved of the extra work, said Diane Hermann-Brown, election communications chairwoman for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks' Association. In fact, eliminating the practice would create a "heavy burden" on municipalities and the state, said Hermann-Brown, who is the city clerk in Sun Prairie.

"There's no way we'd be in favor of that," she said.

If same-day registration were eliminated, the state would no longer be exempt from a whole raft of federal provisions, Hermann-Brown said, including requiring state social-service agencies and driver's license bureaus to register voters.

Clerks also would be required to issue provisional ballots to voters whose registrations could not immediately be verified, she said. Such ballots require extra effort by both clerks and voters before they can be counted. And large numbers of uncounted provisional ballots means election results could be delayed by days, Hermann-Brown said.

Walker said asking pollworkers to also register voters made for too much work, and "it'd be much better if registration was done in advance of Election Day." Spokesman Cullen Werwie has declined to elaborate, saying the governor would evaluate any such bill if one is introduced.

But Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said the provision "is not really a big hassle."

"It takes about a minute to process such a registration," she said. "Then it's in the system for the next election."

Between 100,000 and 450,000 Wisconsinites register at the polls each general election, or between 7 percent and 20 percent of all voters, according to the Government Accountability Board, the state's election agency. During the June 5 recall election, for example, 266,974 voters registered the same day, or 10.6 percent of everyone who voted. Statewide figures for the Nov. 6 election are not yet available.

The GAB has been studying the fiscal and administrative effects of getting rid of the 36-year-old provision and is expected to discuss the issue Dec. 18, spokesman Reid Magney said,

Wisconsin is among eight states with Election Day registration; two others have passed but not yet implemented it. Wisconsin is known for its high voter turnout, and same-day registration is often cited as a major reason.

Hermann-Brown said it might be useful to look at what the Legislature declared in 1976 when it passed same-day registration: "The vote is the single most critical act in our democratic system of government ... (and) voter registration was not intended to and should not prevent voting."

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(29) Comments

  1. Seriously Now
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    Seriously Now - November 24, 2012 3:43 pm
    You're either in favor of getting as many people involved in voting or you're not. It's that simple. You have to ask why any politico would make any move to reduce the number of eligible voters. The answer is right in front of you.
  2. Balancr
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    Balancr - November 24, 2012 3:32 pm
    Lol - well said elocs. I couldn't have defined this as voter supression any better myself
  3. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 24, 2012 1:24 pm
    I ran a sucessful businiess and employed people for 35 years. You people are WRS recipients an never have met a payroll, or danced to the Profit God. (You know you are posting the truth when they are left with personal attacks).

    PS Pous- Now that would be ever post except for the one you happened to make one hour ago? LOL!!! You have to be an educator.
  4. Muddy
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    Muddy - November 24, 2012 12:48 pm
    Funny...I only had to register 2 times in the past 35 years...the 2nd time was because I moved.
    If you vote every election (which all responsible citizen should do..).you should have no troubles..
  5. lookout
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    lookout - November 24, 2012 12:44 pm
  6. GrandpaS
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    GrandpaS - November 24, 2012 12:43 pm
    "Wisconsin is known for its high voter turnout, and same-day registration is often cited as a major reason." What part of that would any elected official who actually DOES want to support the constitution have a problem with? Gov. Walker is out of line with his talk about cancelling same day registration. If all else fails, try the obvious: Listen to the poll workers who actually know what they're talking about and who say it's not a hassle. Then look at Wisconsin's excellent voter turn-out, and any debate becomes unnecessary. Much ado about nothing. Give it a rest.
  7. elocs
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    elocs - November 24, 2012 12:33 pm
    Wake up fellow GOPatriots! These municipal clerks are obviously part of the liberal socialist conspiracy to steal this great country from us. We must control the vote, otherwise the parasitic poor and the coloreds will take over this nation.

    Mitt Romney was exactly right about the shiftless 47% in this country who cannot be responsible for themselves and who want to turn the U.S. into their socialist paradise while rest of us work to support them. Besides, Romney had the election stolen from him as tens of thousands of people fraudulently registered and voted at the polls here in Wisconsin alone. I know this is true because I heard it on Fox News and they never lie.

    Support the movement and the bill that will be proposed by our great governor and our noble Republican legislature that would require the votes of the 47% to be counted as just 3/5 of a vote unless the can prove they are property owners and legal U.S. citizens.

    Voter suppression is the only way to save us.
  8. lookout
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    lookout - November 24, 2012 12:22 pm
    Instead of going back an fourth saying one thing or the other, people, show me where voter fraud is the problem in this country. Everything I read, tells me there is'nt one. I could go on a pro Republican Dot Com, but, then they have an interest in seeing one happen. So other than someones opinion, I have'nt seen any
  9. Opus
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    Opus - November 24, 2012 11:34 am
    Pheasant - you have NEVER taken the high road! Your posts are filled with contempt, insults and disingenuous statements.
  10. Napoleon
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    Napoleon - November 24, 2012 11:32 am
    Nestor: " I receive a paltry sum for SS."

    A paltry moocher is still a moocher. At least WRS recipients earn their benefits, you do not.

    Nestor: "I have Meniere's."

    That's no excuse: Mitt Romney would have nothing to do with the likes of you 47-percenters. I'm sick of paying taxes and higher insurance premiums just so you Meniere's moochers can sit on your butts all day. Why don't you lazy Meniere's people get up off the couch and get a job? You're worse than those WRS people!
  11. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 24, 2012 11:08 am
    Some are busy providing health coverage, earl;y retirment health coverage, dental, and sticking away something for retirement. This does not include WRS Recipients. They have all. There is not Health Care Crisis. There is although a private working sector health care crisis.
  12. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 24, 2012 11:06 am
    Napoleon- I have Meniere's. I could have filed for SS in 1992. Instead I kept working as a Roofer. As my family, friends, and Doctor told me I should not. I had designed, had bid, paid for a 'Private' Disability Policy in case I was hurt. I was, it took me 8 months to just make a 360 turn on a stationary cycle. During that process the largest disability company in the world mandated I file for SS if I made a claim. I had no attorney, and the process was easy and accepted without argument by SS and the Private. Imagine that? Go talk to ANY Attorney and see if you have top be screwed up to accomplish that without one. I receive a paltry sum for SS. After paying both contribution as an employer that totaled 15.3% of gross wages, paltry. Then because I differ with dim-wits like you. You take the low raod and attack me with belwo the belt statements. You sir should be ashamed.
  13. Histurn
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    Histurn - November 24, 2012 11:02 am
    Get a life Nestor. Better yet, put on your brown furry jacket and run around in the woods.
  14. Napoleon
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    Napoleon - November 24, 2012 10:58 am
    It's not about voter fraud, it's about voter suppression. Think about it: if you're a criminal, you'd not bother with stuff that gives you no money or narcissistic pleasure. There's no payoff for voter fraud for the individual.

    "Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud, according to a Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing. Only 26 of those cases, or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas."

    "Minnite said there is little to no motivation for voters to attempt to impersonate someone else at the polls or for non-citizens to try and cast a ballot, a right reserved only for citizens."
  15. Balancr
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    Balancr - November 24, 2012 10:51 am
    Lol- yes the non existent voter fraud that shield's the dying Repubs' last stand. Give it up burnout- change your philosophy of die out. Everyone knows what it is already- your view got literally pulverized at the polls. Oh- and everyone was watching Ohio, AZ, and Florida too. Pretty obvious.
  16. burnout
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    burnout - November 24, 2012 10:39 am

    It's not about voter suppression. It's about voter fraud.
  17. Napoleon
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    Napoleon - November 24, 2012 10:38 am
    WRS employees work. You do not. You sit on your butt all day. You're one of the 47-percent that Romney says mooches off of the rest of us. You even said so. You are Minnie the Moocher:

    Blues Brothers - Minnie The Moocher
  18. Napoleon
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    Napoleon - November 24, 2012 10:31 am
    Re: "Gov. Scott Walker said he was only looking out for beleaguered pollworkers..."

    Yeah, that's it. Scott cares about workers. Especially beleaguered ones. Yeah. Right.

    Gee Beaver, what minority groups would be most affected by the end of same-day voter registration? Golly gee, I wonder who they could be?

    Paul Weyrich - "I don't want everybody to vote" (Goo Goo)

    Countdown w/ Cenk: GOP Latino Voter Suppression Effort

    Washington Watch Voter Suppression Update: Beware Of Efforts To Suppress Your Vote

    Southern Strategy 2.0: Suppression of Black Votes Emerges As Republican Tactic

  19. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 24, 2012 10:27 am
    'Clerks' are WRS Employees. Imagine that?
  20. Mr Peroni
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    Mr Peroni - November 24, 2012 10:04 am
    Only 8 states allow same day
  21. Balancr
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    Balancr - November 24, 2012 9:59 am
    I register. A lot do. But there should be a way to show people you're a resident so you can vote, if you're not registered. If you're blocking that, the courts will find that unconstitutional.

    The GOP has to find a way to either disenfranchise voters, or change their philosophy/ approach, or both. That's what this is about. Voter fraud is a red herring
  22. stevelovegolf
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    stevelovegolf - November 24, 2012 9:46 am
    we all have lives some just make better choices than others.
  23. LesTrafik
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    LesTrafik - November 24, 2012 9:46 am
    The governor is morally wrong to speak out 1 side of his mouth, drool out the other. Where the common sense in looking out for volunteers, but not in overwhelming clerks?

    It’s nothing to do with ‘lazy’. The most efficient, economical time for registering ‘is’ on the day of the election, for all involved.
  24. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - November 24, 2012 9:02 am
    Some people have alot more going on in their lives than others. Some people cant get off work. Some are running none stop, trying to keep their own personal lives going because of family and kids. the list goes on
  25. stevelovegolf
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    stevelovegolf - November 24, 2012 8:50 am
    so tell me why its so hard to register before hand? or is it just people are lazy
  26. Balancr
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    Balancr - November 24, 2012 8:49 am
    It looks like Walker's looking for a higher office. I mean he didn't blatantly disregard voting efforts during the Presidential election- yet he supports this move- much more deceptive - same goal mind you- disenfranchising voters. Well- perhaps GOP'ers won't change their philosophies, and they'll just keep getting beat in the elections. No skin off my nose- but I for one would at least like the race close. It's kinda boring to have a governor have to spend 30 plus million against a lukewarm opponent on a recall election to win...
  27. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - November 24, 2012 8:43 am
    It's another voter supression act of Republicians. When are people going to see them for what they are? they have the idea that people who don't vote for them should'nt have a vote..They tried to stop people from voting ever since they became the party of corporate wellfare.
  28. Zrae
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    Zrae - November 24, 2012 8:35 am
    First, get more pollworkers. They are volunteers and our population is growing.
    Second, How much money surged into his campaign coffers by offering that kind of lipservice in that setting?
  29. David Lee
    Report Abuse
    David Lee - November 24, 2012 8:25 am
    So scooter lied, what's new?
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