Wisconsin has, for decades, achieved one of the highest rates of voter participation in the country during presidential elections. That’s something we should celebrate. Unfortunately, since 2011, Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature have rewritten election laws with the primary purpose of ensuring that they remain in power. These actions do not represent democracy. And they certainly don’t reflect the spirit of the first three words of our Constitution, “We the People.” The most recent change restricts the hours for early voting for every municipality in the state, regardless of size. For the city of Milwaukee, city of Madison and other large municipalities, this removes their ability to offer the evening and weekend hours that have existed to accommodate large populations. This legislation further exacerbates a longstanding problem for Milwaukee: the state Legislature’s previous decisions to limit municipalities to one early voting site, regardless of population.
The impact of this one-site-per-municipality rule already has unfairly influenced voting patterns in Wisconsin. While other municipalities in the state have as many as 25% to 30% of voters avoiding long lines on election day by voting early, the cities of Milwaukee and Madison, limited by space and capacity, have only been able to provide early voting opportunities to just over 12% of voters.
It’s easy to understand why more people vote early in communities other than in Milwaukee and Madison. It’s faster and more convenient. Further decreasing the available voting hours in Milwaukee will only create even longer lines and greater inconvenience for voters during in-person absentee voting.
Full Article: Bills should fix problems, not elections.