Wisconsin would become the 26th state to offer online voter registration under a bill up for a public hearing Tuesday morning. Several Dane County Democrats signed on as co-sponsors to the bill late last week, but they withdrew their support Monday because of several concerns, including that it limits registration options for certain voters, such as college students, seniors and low-income people, and is moving too quickly to address problems they have raised about it. The bill would allow eligible voters with driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs to register to vote on a secure website maintained by the Government Accountability Board. Voters could also update their address information on the website. The bill allows GAB and the Department of Transportation to coordinate their records for verification purposes.
Currently, voters can register by mail or with a special registration deputy no later than the 20th day before an election, a time frame that the bill would also apply to online registration. Voters currently also can register with a local clerk’s office up until the Friday before an election and at the polls on election day.
The bill also eliminates special registration deputies, who are often volunteers working with groups like the League of Women Voters and trained by a local clerk’s office to register members of the public to vote. Bill co-author Rep. Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, said the online system would allow anyone with a laptop or tablet to help voters register online, but the registrant would need a valid ID.