Just Let 'Em Vote, Already
Another attempt is being made to restrict the ability to vote in Wisconsin. The latest effort comes from Assemblyman Duey Stroebel (R), who is presenting a bill that would prohibit voting offices from being open extra early or late, or on the weekend, to allow for in-person absentee voting. He claims the impetus is to create a fair standard with other voting offices across the state. In a related story, the areas that typically feature extended absentee voting hours are in heavily-populated -- re: Democratic-leaning -- parts of the state.
Fairness is a standard we all must strive for, but I cannot see the benefit beyond some arbitrary notion of cost fairness. Stroebel is making his case on the grounds that smaller communities cannot afford to be open the same hours as larger cities. This would be a matter of fairness if there were a demand in smaller communities for additional hours -- which, because there are fewer residents, necessarily means lines will be shorter and fewer people will need abnormal times to cast their ballot. I have not heard the issue of smaller cities and towns being unable to afford extra balloting hours being a problem inhibiting the vote.
Thus, again, a Wisconsin Republican is nakedly trying to game the system to keep people from voting who support Democrats. Legislative districts have been re-drawn to nearly lock-in GOP majorities at least through the 2020 election, and if the Voter ID legislation currently held-up in the state Supreme Court finally takes effect, a notable number of liberals and likely Democratic voters will have difficulty voting -- or be unable to vote at all. Of course, if lots of people still want to vote and find a way to get some sort of ID, Democrats can still win, at least on a statewide level; this was proven by Democrats claiming wins this past November in the state for the Presidency and U.S. Senate. How do you solve the problem? Reduce the amount of time a person can vote, so hopefully, for Republicans, these urbanites and college-age folks can never find the time to get to the polls.
We should be getting more and more people to vote. If Rep. Stroebel sees a problem with the affordability of keeping voting offices open, he should author a bill funding additional voting hours on an as-needed basis. That is solving a problem, not creating an additional problem for people who may support a political party that the Assemblyman opposes.