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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Possible changes in Wisconsin early voting system

Legislation


During May 2008, I blogged about the phenomenon of voting by mail: 

“The number of people who prefer not to vote in-person on Election Day and would rather mail in their vote is increasing. In fact, the state of Oregon is the first and only state in the country where all voting is done by mail. Other states are taking notice and have either implemented the system in some areas or are exploring the concept.

One of the reasons for the increase in mail voting is the relative ease of obtaining an absentee ballot. All a voter need do in many states is request an absentee ballot. No reason or explanation is necessary.

Governing Magazine goes so far as to say, ‘The traditional precinct election, where everyone shows up on the appointed day, is in the process of decline’.”

Prior to the November elections, the Associated Press reported that nationwide, about a third of the electorate was expected to vote before Election Day, November 4, 2008. In Wisconsin, the Government Accountability Board (GAB) reports, “Statewide, more than 21 percent cast absentee votes in the November 2008 election, compared to 6 percent in 2000.”

Changes in the popular early voting system are coming to Wisconsin. Responding to pleas from election clerks around the state, the GAB is recommending:

 

·      Moving the start of in-person absentee voting from 30 to 20 days before the election

·      Moving the deadline for no-excuse in-person absentee voting from 5 p.m. the Monday before the election to 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. Voters could still vote absentee until 5 p.m. Monday if they sign an affidavit stating they are unable to make it to the polling place on Election Day. Until 2000, all absentee ballots applications required an excuse. 


Plover Village Clerk Karen Swanson told the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune  that during the 2008 presidential election, “"We were all up until midnight or 1 o'clock in the morning, and then we had to be back here at 5 a.m. to run an election.”

The newspaper reported, “Swanson said clerks in her office, like those in offices statewide, found themselves faced with processing stacks of absentee ballots when they should have been preparing for the thousands of voters who would vote on Election Day.”

The legislature and the governor must approve any changes to the early voting system.

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