The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has estimated that implementing a proposal to end Election Day Registration would cost our state more than $5 million up-front and an additional $1.9 million per biennium after that. This is because ending same-day registration would require that our state comply with certain federal laws from which Wisconsin is currently exempt.
Governor Walker has said he would not sign a bill that “costs that kind of money.” What he did not say, however, was that he would veto such a bill because it would unnecessarily prevent qualified citizens from voting for the sake of solving a problem that does not exist.
The GAB noted that its cost estimate is “preliminary,” and proponents of ending same-day registration have indicated they think it might be high. We certainly hope they would not consider making such a drastic change to Wisconsin’s model election system “on the cheap.”
The League placed 300 citizen election observers in the polls in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin in the November 6 election. They found the vast majority of poll workers to be highly committed to helping people register and vote. According to law, individuals seeking to register were required to provide certain numbers and documentation to prove who they are and where they live.
Like other states with Election Day Registration, Wisconsin ranks high in voter turnout in our elections. That's something to be proud of.
Lawmakers should focus, as they have promised, on jobs and the economy, not on making it more difficult for people to participate in their government. We need more people working, not fewer people voting.
The GAB's report: Preliminary Report on the Impacts and Costs of Eliminating Election Day Registration in Wisconsin
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