PRESS CONFERENCE: Voting Rights Activists React to WI SB324 Signed Into Law
RELEASE FROM ONE WISCONSIN NOW:
March 27, 2014
Contact: Mike Browne
Phone: (608) 444-3483
Walker Turns Back on Public, Voting Rights
On Eve of Vegas Trip to Audition for Casino Magnate Money, Walker Rolls Back Wisconsinites Access to Franchise
MADISON, WI -- Despite widespread public opposition, Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed into law new restrictions on early voting today. Walker's acquiescence to the latest racist, anti-voter scheme by Republicans eliminates weekend early voting in Wisconsin and outlaws municipalities offering citizens the ability to vote in the two weeks prior to Election Day before 8am or after 7pm.
One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross commented, "Gov. Walker has made his choice. He's put his political ambitions first and turned his back on the constitutional right of Wisconsinites to vote. He is aiding and abetting the fraudulent manipulation of the rules on voting being perpetrated by the Republican controlled legislature."
Early voting has become an increasingly popular way for Wisconsinites to do their civic duty and have a say in the direction of their communities. In fact, 58 Republican legislators who have supported restrictions on early voting have themselves voted early.
The impacts of the law will be felt heavily in urban areas where long lines are a serious issue at the polls and creates significant new challenges for minorities, seniors, working families and persons with disabilities in accessing the franchise.
Walker signed the legislation despite a mere 12% of respondents in a recent statewide poll endorsing the new restrictions on early voting proposed in the bill presented to Walker for his signature.
"This fight is far from over. It may be Governor Walker's signature on the bill today, but this fight will end when a judge signs an order declaring this latest Republican attack on voting unconstitutional," concluded Ross.
RELEASE FROM UNITED WISCONSIN:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lisa Subeck, United Wisconsin
Lisa@unitedwisconsin.com cell: 608.358.7090 Erik Kirkstein, United Wisconsin Erik@unitedwisconsin.com cell: 414.520.1377
Gov. Walker Signs Bill Restricting Access to In-Person Absentee Voting
SB 324 puts politics ahead of people, aimed at suppressing the vote of seniors, minorities, and working families ahead of November election
MADISON -- Today, Governor Scott Walker signed into law Senate Bill 324, which places new limits on in-person absentee voting, including a complete ban on early voting during evenings and weekends.
"Senate Bill 324 is one of many attempts by Republicans over the last 3 years to suppress the votes of those they see as unfavorable to their own candidates and their own political futures," said United Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Subeck. "Governor Walker had the opportunity to put people ahead of politics by standing up for voting rights and vetoing SB 324."
In-person absentee voting has provided municipalities with the tools they need to ensure every eligible voter has access to the ballot. Municipal Clerks currently have the ability to respond to the unique needs of their own communities and prevent long lines at the polls on Election Day. SB 324 takes vital tools away from our local clerks.
Governor Walker did remove a provision of the bill that limits total hours for in-person absentee voting to 45 hours but maintained the bill's prohibitions against evening and weekend voting.
"While Walker opted to remove the part of this broken law that limits total in-person absentee hours to 45 per week, that is little consolation to those Wisconsin citizens who cannot take time off work or who lose pay for time taken off during the traditional work week," said Subeck.
Public outcry against SB 324 has increased in the week since the Republican dominated State Assembly passed the bill last week, including opposition from the editorial boards of major newspapers across the state. A recent poll conducted by Marquette Law School found that 66% of Wisconsinites prefer expanding or maintaining current early voting hours, while only 17% favored a reduction. "Today, Governor Walker put politics ahead of people by signing SB 324," Subeck said. "His actions amount to betrayal of trust of the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin seniors, veterans, students, and working people who regularly exercise their right to vote via early absentee ballot." # # # United Wisconsin is an independent, grassroots organization of citizens restoring the Wisconsin tradition of democracy in action. For more information, visit our website at www.unitedwisconsin.com.