Wisconsin voters could soon find it even easier to register to vote.

Proposed legislation at the Capitol would attempt to match up state records with voter information, essentially registering you to vote whenever you have contact with a state agency. State Representative Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) says they hope to start with the Department of Transportation, because Wisconsinites typically identify where they are living when they register a vehicle or obtain a driver’s license.

The measure is part of a proposed Voter Protection Act introduced by lawmakers this week. It would also expand ballot access for active-duty military personnel and provide more flexibility for casting absentee ballots. It would also prohibit certain tactics used to intimidate voters, such as spreading false information about polling places or using ballot challenges to scare away voters. The bill would require anyone challenging a ballot at a polling place to actually be registered to vote in that district as well.

Republicans say the bill could weaken the integrity of the ballot and are also raising concerns about the lack of any photo ID requirements. In a statement, Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) says the bill could deteriorate some already weak standards on ballot integrity.

Smith hopes to hold a hearing on the bill by the end of this month.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:15)


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