A Republican lawmaker is proposing limits on the hours and days voters can cast in-person absentee ballots even as such voting increases in popularity in the state. The bill would have a heavy impact in Madison, one of several municipalities that have held extended hours on nights and weekends to accommodate in-person absentee voters. Critics said the bill, introduced in the state Assembly late last week, would force municipalities to spend more on mail-in absentee ballots while making it harder for people to vote. The measure proposed by Rep. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, would prohibit clerks from opening early, late or on weekends to accommodate voters wishing to cast their ballots before Election Day.
Stroebel aide John Soper said the bill aims to give residents of smaller communities the same access to absentee voting as those in larger communities that can afford to hold extended balloting.
“To have those disparities for in-person absentee balloting, Representative Stroebel believes, is not fair,” Soper said. “His focus is on equality in the system — that’s the way he views it.”
Democrats are heading in a different direction. Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood, is drafting a bill that would allow clerks to designate one or more additional locations for in-person absentee balloting beyond the local clerk’s office.