North Carolina’s omnibus bill to change election law has drawn a fair share of criticism from voting rights supporters, but Republicans in Wisconsin appear eager to give their North Carolina colleagues a run for their money when it comes to new restrictions on voting. The latest legislation comes from state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who’s pushing two bills to restrict early voting and a third that would reduce requirements on donor disclosures. 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, which has been attributed to its ample early voting period; the new proposal could significantly reduce that. The state’s chapter of the League of Women Voters is concerned that the legislation would “reduce the opportunities for voters across the state who have daytime jobs or family commitments.”
… Another proposal from Grothman would hit elderly voters and those who help them. Citing “anecdotal evidence of abuses,” Grothman’s legislation creates a new obstacle, requiring anyone assisting a voter in a residential facility to post a notice 72 hours in advance and post that notice online.
“This is just the latest round of politically motivated attacks on our democracy in Wisconsin,” said United Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Subeck. “Republicans suffered significant losses in Wisconsin’s statewide elections in November 2012, so they are now attempting to stack the deck for 2014 by making voting more difficult for those who may not agree with their radical policies.”
A third bill loosens financial disclosure rules, increasing the minimum donation requiring documentation from $100 to $500. Currently, campaigns must disclose the name and occupation of any donor who gives $100 or more.