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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.

Time running out to apply for popular absentee ballots

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There is still time to apply for an absentee ballot in Wisconsin. You must complete the proper form and mail it to or turn it into your municipal clerk's office. The application must be received by 5:00 this Thursday, the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be mailed to you.

Here are instructions on how to apply for an absentee ballot in Wisconsin.

During May, I blogged about the trend of voting via the Post Office.  As one election official put it, “There is no line at your mailbox.”  Just how popular is the absentee ballot? The Associated Press reports that nationwide, about a third of the electorate is expected to vote before Election Day, November 4, 2008.

The numbers show an increasing percentage of voters want to take advantage of the absentee ballot because they are travelling, they are elderly and have difficulty getting to the polls, the convenience of considering their choices in the comfortable confines of their home, or simply because they can. Twenty-eight states, including Wisconsin, allow anyone to vote absentee, no questions asked.

During 2000, 16 percent of voters in the United States cast their ballots early. The number increased to 22 percent in 2004.

Statewide in Wisconsin, according to the Government Accountability Board’s Kyle Richmond who was quoted by the Associated Press, about 365,000 people used absentee ballots or cast early votes at clerk’s offices in 2004, about 12 percent of the voting age population in the state. The number is expected to grow this year to 15 percent.

At least 40% of California’s registered voters already have decided they want to vote by mail. The LA Times reports that according to the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, a majority of voters prefer their mailbox over the ballot box in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Oregon did away entirely with polling places during 2000. Washington state is getting close to 100% vote-by-mail.

Here is an Associated Press story on the popularity of Post Office voting.

Wisconsin law gives workers time to vote

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Under Wisconsin law, employers must allow workers time to vote on Election Day. Here is the Wisconsin statute:

6.76 Time off for voting.
Any person entitled to vote at an election is entitled to be absent from work while the polls are open for a period not to exceed 3 successive hours to vote. The elector shall notify the affected employer before election day of the intended absence. The employer may designate the time of day for the absence.
(2) No penalty, other than a deduction for time lost, may be imposed upon an elector by his or her employer by reason of the absence authorized by this section.
(3) This section applies to all employers including the state and all political subdivisions of the state and their employees, but does not affect the employees’ right to holidays existing on June 28, 1945, or established after that date.
History: 1977 c. 394; 1991 a. 316.

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Wisconsin counties struggling to grow income


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How is your school district doing?

isn’t cheap when it comes to funding education, especially our area of the state. The Public Policy Forum’s October 2008 Research Brief indicates school spending is above average in the southeast part of Wisconsin and higher than the state as a whole.

Our region is behind the rest of the state in graduation but surpasses the state in ACT and AP scores.

You can read more about these and other findings in The Public Policy Forum’s October 2008 Research Brief here.

Unlike Wisconsin, what other states are doing Election Day

Photo ID

Take a look at this list of states:

South Dakota
North Dakota
South Carolina

You will notice Wisconsin is not on the list. That is because the list includes states that either request or require identification to vote.

Presenting identification at the polls is not a barrier or hardship to vote. 
In fact, The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) writes, “In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls—all states have some sort of recourse for voters without identification to cast a vote.  However, in Georgia and Indiana, voters without ID vote a provisional ballot, and must return to election officials within a few days and show a photo ID in order for their ballots to be counted.”

Here is the NCSL rundown on what other states require for voting.

Keep in mind why Wisconsin does not have a photo ID law on the books. Governor Doyle and state Senate Democrats killed any chance of a photo ID requirement being in place for the critical November elections when the governor vetoed photo ID legislation three times and Senate Democrats refused to allow a vote on a photo ID constitutional amendment. A common sense photo ID requirement would not be an obstacle to voting or hamper the process.

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