While voting rights advocates have zeroed in on North Carolina where the governor is getting ready to sign a controversial voting law, Republicans in Wisconsin are readying their own voting overhaul. The latest legislation comes from state Sen. Glenn Grothman who is pushing two bills to restrict early voting and a third that would reduce requirements on donor disclosures. These latest attempts to change election law could be called the aftershocks of the state’s Republican takeover of 2011. After winning full control of the state house and governor’s mansion for the first time in more than a decade in 2010, Republicans began pushing a hard right agenda that included a ban on collective bargaining and new strict voter ID requirements. The state did continue its tradition of voting for Democrats in the presidential race last year in choosing to re-elect President Obama over Mitt Romney last year.
One proposal would create new limits to the amount of early voting that can be offered by local elections officials, shrinking the number of hours, ending all weekend voting and allowing ballots to be cast only during regular business hours. Wisconsin enjoys some of the highest rates of voter participation in the country year after year–No. 2 in the nation last year–which has been attributed partly to its ample early voting period.
The state’s chapter of the League of Women Voters said it is concerned that the legislation would “reduce the opportunities for voters across the state who have daytime jobs or family commitments.”