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Some GOP lawmakers pursue end of same-day voter registration


MADISON (WRN)   Two Republican state lawmakers say they’re drafting a bill to end voter registration at the polls on Election Day. Representative Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc and Senator Alberta Darling of River Hills asked their colleagues yesterday to co-sponsor the measure. Governor Scott Walker brought up the idea last month when he told a California audience that he favored ending Wisconsin’s 36-year-old practice of same-day registration. But Walker told reporters that expanding the economy is a bigger priority – and opponents had turned his voter registration comments into a quote, “ridiculous issue.”

Kleefisch said he had been working on a bill in the last session to end same-day registration. He agreed that jobs are more important at the moment – but he said it’s also vital to ensure a fair vote. Kleefisch said there’s a better chance for fraud with same-day registrations – which supporters of the practice dispute.

Yesterday Milwaukee Democrats and their supporters got together to urge Walker to drop the subject. Mayor Tom Barrett said those who were unhappy with the presidential results are trying to change the voting rules. And he called it a “significant, orchestrated national attack.” Senate Democratic leader Chris Larson said any election rule changes should get support from both parties. Otherwise he said the public will quote, “view it for what it is – tilting the table to one side or the other.” But state G-O-P Senate President Mike Ellis says there’s not an agreement among Republicans in his chamber to end same-day registration. And Ellis said his members would most likely keep their focus on the economy.