Walker wouldn't end same-day voter registration

GREEN BAY — After seeing an initial price tag, Governor Scott Walker is changing his tune on ending same-day voter registration in Wisconsin.

The debate started a few weeks ago when Walker said registering voters on Election Day was too much work for poll workers.

A Government Accountability Board study shows the initial cost would be at least $5.2 million. On top of that would be $1.93 million for every two-year election cycle.

“There's no way I'm going to sign a bill that costs that kind of money,” said Walker.

“We prepared the study to provide the legislature with information to make a decision,” said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for the G.A.B.

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The research found the state would have to increase mailings and offer new ways for people to register to vote, including registration through Division of Motor Vehicle offices. G.A.B officials say those costs outweigh any staffing changes at the polls. The new G.A.B study is only the start of the expected costs.

“There will certainly be other responsibilities on local election officials that they don't have now as well as other state agencies besides ours,” said Kennedy.

“I've said, one, it's a distraction and in light of those numbers, it's pretty clear not only would I not sign it with that dollar amount, but I don't think the Legislature even comes close to passing it,” said Walker. “There's no way people want to spend that kind of money for something like that.”

“It's about doing the right thing,” said State Senator Dave Hansen, (D)-Green Bay. “I don't think he thought this out well enough.”

Hansen says it's likely Governor Walker's original goal may have been to suppress voter turnout.

“We should be encouraging people to vote rather than discouraging them,” said Hansen.

The Governor has said he believes voters would register early if it was required. But at least for the near future, Wisconsin will continue to be one of eight states to allow registration on Election Day.

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Wisconsin (change)

 
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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