In reviewing publicly available voting records, the progressive group One Wisconsin Now found a big surprise: Fifteen of the 17 state Senators who supported legislation to restrict early voting hours in Wisconsin have themselves voted early.
In a press statement, One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross slammed the senators for what he called “hypocrisy.”
“That these senators would vote to make it harder for their fellow citizens to cast an early ballot in elections, just as almost every single one of them has, is an almost unbelievable act of hypocrisy,” Ross said.
In the Senate, only Sens. Leah Vukmir and Neal Kedzie did not cast ballots prior to Election Day. Sen. Glenn Grothman, who authored the controversial voting restriction bill, voted prior to Election Day by absentee ballot 7 times in the last 10 years, including twice in 2012. Sen. Mary Lazich, chair of the Senate Elections Committee, has cast ballots before Election Day on 5 occasions since 2009.
Under the terms of Senate Bill 324, local election officials would be prohibited from allowing people to vote early in-person at their municipal clerk’s office via absentee ballot before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on weekdays or for more than 45 hours per week. Weekend in-person absentee voting would be banned.
Early in-person voting has become increasing popular in recent years with voters. Early voting helps reduce Election Day overcrowding at polling locations and provides a convenient, accessible option for seniors and persons with disabilities to cast their ballot. The impact of an early voting ban would fall especially hard on urban areas of the state with large minority populations.