State politicians could receive twice as much money from each donor and Wisconsin residents could register to vote online under a bill that won bipartisan support Monday. The Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee approved the bill 8-1, clearing the way for the Assembly to vote on it Wednesday. The lone dissenter was Rep. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon). The bill started as a plan to make it more difficult to recall local officials, adjust the state’s stalled voter ID law and put new restrictions on when voters can cast ballots in clerks’ offices in the weeks before an election. Democrats considered all those provisions onerous and Republicans dropped them Friday — at least for now — and incorporated the changes allowing online voter registration and the doubling of campaign contributions.
Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison), who has pursued online voter registration for years, acknowledged that Republicans were willing to include online voting registration so they could ensure a bipartisan vote on raising the limit on campaign contributions.
“I admit there is no question that they wanted that,” Berceau said of Republicans. “We can call it negotiation; we can call it compromise.
“I think that the tradition has been to assume it’s going to help Democrats. (But) I don’t think the Republicans would have accepted it if they didn’t think it was going to help them as well.”
Under the bill, people could register to vote on a secure state website up to 20 days before an election if they have a valid Wisconsin’s driver’s license or identification card. As with current rules on registrations, the names would be checked against the state Department of Transportation’s database, as well as lists of felons and deceased people. Elections officials would send postcards to voters to verify their addresses.
Registrations closer to an election would have to occur in clerks’ offices or at the polls, as they do now.