Wisconsin Election Clerks Fight Gov. Walker’s Plan To Make Voter Registration More Difficult

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) proposed repealing a decades-old state law that allows citizens to register on Election Day, he said his motivation was to make the process easier for the state’s municipal election clerks.

To Walker’s surprise, one of the first major groups to push back on his proposal is the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association.

In fact, the organization’s election communications chairwoman Diane Hermann-Brown said, eliminating Election Day Registration would actually make their jobs significantly more difficult. The Wisconsin State Journal has more:

But the state’s municipal clerks — the ones who run elections — are not looking to be relieved of the extra work, said Diane Hermann-Brown, election communications chairwoman for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks’ Association. In fact, eliminating the practice would create a “heavy burden” on municipalities and the state, said Hermann-Brown, who is the city clerk in Sun Prairie.

“There’s no way we’d be in favor of that,” she said.

Hermann-Brown pointed to a number of new election regulations that the state would be forced to adopt if it repealed Election Day Registration. For instance, clerks would be required to use provisional ballots, which can turn into a bureaucratic nightmare for election officials. State agencies, like the BMV, would be required to help register voters as well.


Walker’s announcement came just two weeks after Obama’s won the swing state of Wisconsin this month. Republicans won a handful of state Senate races the same day, giving the GOP control of both the legislature and the governorship.

There’s a very good reason why Walker and his Republican allies want to get rid of Election Day Registration. In Milwaukee, which has far more minorities than other areas of the state and gave 79 percent of its votes to Barack Obama, nearly 1 in 5 voters registered on Election Day. It was particularly popular among local college students at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama.