Gov. Scott Walker set off a firestorm last month when he suggested Wisconsin should do away with same day registration. He says eliminating the on-site procedure would alleviate the burden on poll workers. “It’s difficult for them to handle the kind of volume of folks who come in at the last minute. It would be much better if registration was done in advance of Election Day,” Walker says. Incoming Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos supports the governor’s idea of requiring voters to register ahead of time. Vos says lines would be shorter at the polls. He also claimed in a television broadcast a few days ago, that same day registration sometimes results in fraud.
“We have a requirement that you have to be a resident for 28 days in Wisconsin in order to vote. When you go in for same day registration, many times people show a bill that doesn’t even have a date on it, so how do we know the person has been a resident for 28 days?” Vos asks.
Vos says he supports an alternative to same day registration known as “motor voter.” It’s a federal law that allows people to register to vote when they renew or obtain a drivers license. Despite the concerns Vos and the governor raise, Milwaukee Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht says he can assure them that same day registration works fine.
“It really isn’t hectic. Same day registration has been occurring in Wisconsin for the last 36 years. The process of completing same day registration is interwoven into training of election workers,” Albrecht says.
Albrecht brushes aside claims that people are fraudulently presenting undated electric bills. “There’s absolutely no correlation between same day registration and any documented occurrences of fraud in the state of Wisconsin. In fact, we have a largely fraud free state when it comes to elections,” Albrecht says.