Report: Ending Same Day Wisconsin Voter Registration Would Cost $14.5 Million

When Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) announced he would no longer support his own plan to do away with same day voter registration in Wisconsin, he struck a blow to voter suppression and may have saved millions of taxpayer dollars in the process.

A new report from the Government Accountability Board suggests that ending the state’s same day voter registration program, which allows eligible voters to register to vote at the polling station on election day, would cost several state agencies a combined $14.5 million:

The staff of the GAB, which oversees the state’s elections, studied the idea and in a preliminary report in December estimated its costs for the first two years after a change would increase by $5.2 million.

The estimate increased dramatically Monday for two reasons.

Since December, four affected state departments — transportation, workforce development, health services and children and families — have submitted their own cost estimates totaling between $9.9 million and $10.5 million, said GAB spokesman Reid Magney.

After the GAB’s initial report in December, when the projected cost of ending ending same day registration was a third of the latest estimates, Gov. Walker told reporters that he would stop his pursuit to end the program, citing the cost. But other Republican legislators in the state may still opt to pursue a bill to strip away same day registration, and Walker has not signaled that he would veto a potential bill. Nationwide, Republicans have waged war on voter rights in the last several years, supporting discriminatory voter ID laws while simultaneously seeking to end early voting and same day registration with little regard for the costs, both financial and otherwise.