Wisconsin is now the newest in a growing list of states to abridge voter rights under the dubious charge of â€œvoter fraud.â€ Last week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) signed the bill into law.
The bill effectively ends weekend voting in the state, limiting early voting times to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The bill, as it passed the state legislature, also capped early voting at 45 hours per week, a provision Walker vetoed before signing.
Walker’s supporters lauded the bill, saying it put smaller cities on equal footing with larger ones that could afford to keep polling stations open to accommodate voters.
“The legislation gives local governments the needed flexibility while maintaining fairness in our elections,â€ State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said.
Others decry the bill as another blatant attempt to prevent certain groups from voting.
Lisa Subeck, of the citizen advocacy group United Wisconsin called Walker’s signing a “betrayal of trust of the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin seniors, veterans, students, and working people.”
The bill’s stated purpose is perplexing, especially given the state’s exemplary turnout stats.
In 2012, Wisconsin’s same-day registration and weekend voting helped bring vote turnout to 73.2 percent, the second highest in the country. It also helped the state avoid the long lines and backlog seen in many other cities across America.
Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R) said in a radio interview,Â â€œItâ€™s all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities, something my colleagues have been hot on the trail for three years and have failed miserably at demonstrating.â€