Enough with the voting changes, already

JUST LEAVE WISCONSIN’S VOTING rules alone. The Republicans who run the state Capitol are acting like sore losers - even though they’ve mostly been the winners of recent elections and rigged voting district maps to their favor.

The latest attempt to change how people can vote in Wisconsin came last week from Rep. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville. His bill would prohibit municipal clerks from opening early, late or on weekends to accommodate voters who want to cast their ballots before Election Day.

The proposed legislation seems squarely aimed at the Democratic stronghold of Madison, which extended hours on nights and weekends to accommodate in-person absentee voters. By limiting flexibility for voters in Madison, maybe fewer lefties will vote, the GOP’s strategy seems to go.

Stroebel insists he’s just trying to give the residents of smaller communities the same access to in-person absentee voting as those in larger communities that can afford to hold extended balloting, his aide said.

But even the Wisconsin Towns Association - a group with members in rural areas - has opposed his proposal. That’s because it’s not unusual for small-town clerks, who often work part-time and have other jobs, to open their offices on nights and weekends to accommodate in-person absentee voting.

The Municipal Clerks Association also sees a variety of potential problems with Stroebel’s bill. And Madison’s clerk fears it will drive up costs if more residents mail in their absentee ballots, rather than showing up in person.

But let’s not get lost in the weeds of Stroebel’s otherwise minor bill. The biggest problem with it is that it continues a string of proposed changes that makes it harder to cast ballots. And there’s little if any evidence tighter rules are needed.

First the GOP went after same-day voting registration. Then they required voters to show a photo identification card at the polls, only for the change to get tied up in the courts. Then they floated a new way of counting Electoral College votes.

Give it a rest.

Voting is still relatively easy in Wisconsin. Let’s keep it that way - and stop making the jobs of clerks and poll workers more confusing and difficult. - Wisconsin State Journal, March 11

At issue:
Extended voting hours
Bottom line:
Let localities decide

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