Wisconsin Republicans Try to Crush Voter Registration Drives

Urgent: Block SB 295!

February 8, 2016

Vote ban.

The Wisconsin State Senate will vote tomorrow, February 9th, on a bill that would end a time-honored tradition in Wisconsin: the voter registration drive.

Last week, the State Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government approved Senate Bill 295 on a party-line, 3-2, vote. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign opposes this bill and urges its members – and all concerned citizens – to contact their state senators and tell them to vote against the bill.

The bill would do two good things: It would allow some voters to register on line, and it would allow Veteran Health ID Cards to be valid for voting.

But at the same time, it would make it impossible to conduct voter registration drives. It would do this in two ways.

First, it would forbid the use of special registration deputies. These are people who have assisted municipal clerks in registering voters out in the community. For more than four decades, such deputies have done a phenomenal job in reaching out to our neighbors and signing people up to vote. This is the heart and soul of the work of such valiant groups as the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Second, it would even forbid municipal clerks from conducting voter registration drives. This year, the clerks in Madison and Milwaukee have been conducting these registration drives in public libraries all over their cities.

“By crushing the ability to conduct voter registration drives, this bill will depress voter turnout by design, and that’s outrageous,” says Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “It violates Wisconsin’s fine tradition of making it easier – not harder – to vote.”