October 22, 2014

Pushing a referendum on same day registration

As Republicans begin work on a proposal to repeal Wisconsin’s same day voter registration law, the Dane County executive wants to let the public have a say on the issue.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, a former state lawmaker and county clerk, says same day registration provides a valuable service to voters each election. He says removing the option to register at the polls would not save tax dollars, do nothing to prevent fraud, and make it harder for thousands of people to cast a ballot.

AUDIO: Joe Parisi (:17)

Parisi wants an advisory referendum for the April ballot in Dane County that asks voters if same day registration should stay. He says the Legislature should pay attention to what the public thinks, and other counties should consider similar measures. Parisi says the people of Wisconsin “deserve a chance to weigh in on this decision.”

Republican lawmakers this week began circulating a call for co-sponsors on a bill for the Legislative session that begins in January. When asked about the measure on Wednesday, Governor Scott Walker stressed that the change is not part of his legislative priorities. Walker said “my priority is about jobs, creating jobs.”

Walker did voice support for the change during a recent speech in California.

Parisi agrees that there are far more important issues lawmakers should be focusing on when they return to the Capitol in January. He says it “makes no sense” to make same day voter registration one of the first issues the Republican-controlled Legislature pursues in the next session.