In another sinister attempt to restrict voter rights in the State of Wisconsin, State Representative Jeff Stone of Greenfield introduced a new bill that is quietly but quickly moving through the state assembly.
As I posted earlier one of the points in the bill limits recalling elected municipal and school board officials to instances where they are actually charged with a crime or an ethics violation. That certainly takes much control over local government out of the hands of the voters but I don’t think it’s been used often enough to matter…so what the heck?
More insidious is the shortened time limits imposed on early voting…only two weeks instead of three, no weekends and only 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM on Monday through Friday. This is a direct slap at Milwaukee where many working people took advantage of late evening and weekend hours. This is supposed to make early voting rules uniform across the state…but doesn’t take into account local conditions…and is certainly another swipe at local control. The Milwaukee Election Commission doesn’t see this as a healthy option either:
That would effectively end large-scale voter drives for early voting on weekends, said Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. As many as 4,000 voters cast ballots in the city on each weekend day of early voting, he said.
The commission would have to end its practice of staying open until 8 p.m. on weekdays before an election. The changes would result in longer lines on election day, he said.
“Milwaukee has a substantial working family population that doesn’t necessarily have the ability to come down during the hours the bill would restrict (voting hours) to,” he said.
Absentee ballots won’t be counted if the witness didn’t complete her/his address. If a poll book isn’t signed a random ballot will disqualified because they can’t determine the exact ballot effected. Challenged same day registrations can result in a random ballot being pulled if the voter is suspected as ineligible. And proof of residence must be done with a hard copy and not a smartphone presentation and the election clerk must record the type of proof provided.
For me here is a very troubling point:
Election workers could come from anywhere in a county, not just the ward or municipality where the poll was located.
By law, poll workers are nominated by political parties and the workers at each polling site are supposed to be split about evenly between Republicans and Democrats. In practice, the parties rarely nominate poll workers and clerks find them through other means.
Allowing poll workers to come from anywhere in the county could lead to more partisans working at the polls, provided the parties got more involved in nominating poll workers
I don’t have a problem with election workers from outside my ward if insufficient staff can’t be recruited from my ward…BUT they should ALL be from my municipality. I for one don’t want a Greenfield resident running my polling place and I am willing to bet Greenfield residents don’t want Milwaukeeans running their polling places either. If anything, I’d like to see the part about the parties having input on poll workers and let the local election commissions recruit from the general population.
The bill also moves the date when lobbyists can contribute to campaigns to an earlier date. This is being done because the fall primary dates are now earlier…but I wouldn’t think lobbyists really need more time to figure out how to contribute to a campaign.
And the committee of judges that provides the governor with a slate of candidates for the Government Accountability Board will now have to provide twice as many candidates…might not be the easiest thing to do where the GAB board is made up of retired judges. Not sure how many there are around and how many of them would want to be in this hot seat!
Once more your voting rights are under attack and it really is time that you start making your voices heard in Madison! Or one day you may find yourself without an opportunity to vote!