The latest preview of Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal would make it easier for people to get registered and vote absentee in Wisconsin.
The governor on Monday released another piece of his new budget, this time focusing on voting in the state.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and we should be making it easier – not harder – for every eligible voter to cast their ballot without interference from politicians,” the governor said in a statement.
Among his ideas is a new automatic voter registration system that would merge the databases at the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Wisconsin Elections Commission so that anyone who has a state ID or a driver’s license would then be registered to vote.
The governor also wants to bring back voter registration in the state’s high schools. And he wants the University of Wisconsin to change its college IDs to be voter ID compliant.
Evers’ registration plans also include dropping the residency requirement from 28 days down to just 10, meaning people living in the state, a city, or even a ward could be in Wisconsin for less than two weeks and still get to vote.
Gov. Evers also wants to end some of the time restrictions on early voting to allow more people to cast a ballot before election day.
The governor is also talking about “investments” in local election offices across the state, including allowing local election managers to count absentee ballots the day before Election Day, and providing at least $400,000 for local clerks to buy electronic versions of the state’s voter rolls.
“These investments will help ensure eligible Wisconsinites can exercise their fundamental right to vote and that our local partners have the resources they need to continue administering elections safely, efficiently, and securely,” the governor added.
Few of the governor’s suggestions are likely to be in the state’s new budget. The Republicans who control the legislature, and the budget-writing process, have proposed tightening-up absentee voting and putting the Wisconsin Elections Commission under more scrutiny.
The governor will deliver his budget address to lawmakers Wednesday night. The legislature will then start to work on its own budget after that.