February 13, 2016

Clerks warn of higher costs

The head of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association says a proposal to end Election Day registration in the state would result in extra costs for local governments.

WMCA President Vikki Zuehlke says the move would create a “fiscal burden” for the state’s 1,800 municipal clerks, with one of the biggest expenses coming from having to take in more provisional ballots. Federal law would require polling places to give people a chance to vote if they claim to have registered in advance.

Zuehlke says there’s an extensive procedure for processing provisional ballots, which would require training poll workers. In addition, she says the process for taking in those ballots would likely take longer than it currently does to register a voter at the polls.

Zuehlke says there are also concerns about having state agencies register voters, which would also be required under federal law if Election Day registration goes away. She says it just opens up the opportunity for mistakes to happen.

Republican lawmakers plan to introduce a bill next session that would stop the practice of allowing voters to register at the polls. The WMCA passed a resolution earlier this month opposing the proposal.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:54)

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