Early Voting Debate Continues, Assembly Could Vote This Week - WBAY

Early Voting Debate Continues, Assembly Could Vote This Week

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The state Assembly could vote on a measure this week that would stop early voting on weekends.

The bill narrowly passed the Senate 17-16 last week.

Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) voted with Democrats to oppose the measure.

Senate Republicans argued the bill, which would limit early voting to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. levels the playing field between big cities and small towns.

"People want consistency," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said on the floor last week. "It just presents the image, whether you buy into it or not, that it's not fair."

Senate Democrats argued it targets minority and youth voters.

"What are you afraid of?" Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said "Run on your record. Run on your issues and see if you win or not."

Sunday morning on UpFront With Mike Gousha Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), the bill's lead sponsor, pointed out the bill also pays half the expenses for rural municipalities to offer early voting.

"Obviously in a statewide election it's important to a degree possible we have the same rules in Milwaukee as Appleton as Sussex, as even the smallest communities around the state," he said.

Sen. Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee) said on the show it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, as Democrats argue the measure is politically motivated.

"The key here is access," she said. "The fact we have a larger population in Milwaukee versus other cities and townships where they're smaller, we need to be looking at population sizes."

As the legislative session nears an end, it's still unclear whether the Assembly will pass the exact language the Senate passed.

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