Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday apparently drove the final nail into the coffin of calls to end same-day voter registration in Wisconsin, vowing to veto any such bill that imposed additional costs. “If it has a price tag, absolutely,” Walker told the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism in an interview at the Executive Residence, when asked if he would use his veto pen. “There’s no way we’re spending money on something like that.” The idea of ending same-day voter registration gained currency after Walker made a speech in California last month in which he suggested ending the state’s practice of letting voters register on Election Day, citing the burden it placed on poll workers. Two Republican lawmakers began seeking sponsors on a bill to accomplish this in the GOP-controlled state Legislature. But the idea drew heavy opposition from critics, including some local election officials, and the state Government Accountability Board estimated it would cost the state $5.2 million to develop alternative registration systems required by federal law.
Walker, a Republican, has previously said he would not sign a bill that included this price tag, but did not promise to veto it. In Wisconsin, bills neither signed nor vetoed become law.
Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has said he remains interested in exploring the idea. But on Wednesday, as part of a series of year-end interviews with the news media, Walker said he would veto any bill that imposed any additional cost. Asked how much was too much to stave off his veto pen, Walker said, “To me, cost, period, I’m not interested.”