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Voter Suppression Doesn’t Come Cheap

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on January 29, 2011

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at the Dark Overlords’ (read Republicans) move to end same day voter registration.

The Republicans are claiming that that this will end voter fraud, which has never been proven to be a problem, much less one related to same day registration. They also think that voters are, well, stupid:

What are the arguments for ending the practice? The two most common are: reducing the chaos of voters performing two tasks (registering and voting) instead of one (voting); and reducing voter fraud by having a gap (of say 10 or 30 days) between the close of registration and the vote.

Anyone backing this move by the Republicans must be stupid, for it would fix nothing, but it would create a new level of bureaucracy, slow down the voting process and waste tax payer money.
There is a federal law that still allows the voter to cast a provisional vote on election day and have it scrutinized later at the tax payers’ expense. Not only is it expensive, but it would delay election results for days as each of these votes are looked at. Per the article, 10-15% of voters are now taking advantage of the same day election registration. Imagine how long it would take to analyze each of them.
Or as Kevin Kennedy, head of the state’s election system, puts it:

Kennedy says imposing a pre-election registration deadline would not streamline the experience of voters and poll workers on election day but simply alter it. Let’s say you show up to vote and you’re not on the voting list. Under the current system, you typically go to another line to show documentation of residence, register and then come back and vote. If election-day registration were eliminated, you would have the right under federal law to cast a provisional ballot that would be scrutinized after the election.

“It’s not like you get rid of the extra attention for people not registered. You redirect it to an equally, if not more, time-consuming process,” says Kennedy, who says provisional ballots “will skyrocket” in Wisconsin if election-day registration ends.

He also says such a move would create a new layer of cost and bureaucracy for the state. The state is now exempt from mandates of the federal “motor-voter” law because it has election-day registration. That law requires state motor vehicle and social welfare agencies to try to register their customers and clients to vote. It also imposes added federal reporting requirements on those agencies and elections officials, and would have the unintended effect of forcing the state to keep more than one voter list, says Kennedy.

Kennedy says opponents of registration on election day are “not looking at the bureaucratic morass that’s now going to be imposed on state agencies and local election officials by having to comply with pre-election requirements to turn DOT (Department of Transportation) workers and social welfare state employees into voter registrars.”

But isn’t that typical modus operandi for the GOP? Screw over the tax payers and then make them pay for it, and still get them to think it’s a good thing. That’s how they won the election last year, and until the Democrats start pointing this out with a vengeance, that’s the way it will stay.
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