Eliminating voter hours is undemocratic

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind

Gov. Scott Walker recently signed the Wisconsin legislature’s partisan, anti-democratic bill (Wisconsin Bill 146)  to reduce voter turnout. It’s a bill that restricts the hours for voting early on weekdays and eliminates early voting on weekends altogether.

 This was the second time Wisconsin Republicans have set limits on early voting since Walker and GOP lawmakers took control of state government in January 2011. 

In 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature cut early voting from three weeks, including three weekends, to two weeks, including one weekend. This time, under the legislation as rewritten by Walker, early voting in clerk’s offices could take place solely on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This legislation is an unnecessary fix to a voting system that isn’t broken.  If anything, elected officials should be working on ways to increase participation in our democracy, not reduce it.

For the 2012 election, the weather was cold and wet in Wisconsin, and we still had 70-percent voter turnout. Wisconsin should be taking pride in that, not putting up obstacles that will reduce turnout. Regardless of background, income, age or ZIP code, all Wisconsinites who are eligible to vote should have the opportunity to do so with as much ease as their government can afford them.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is a Democrat who represents southwest Wisconsin.