MADISON (WKOW) -- Voters in cities like Madison and Milwaukee would have fewer chances to get to the polls under a bill being pushed by Assembly Republicans.
Assembly Bill 54 limits the amount of time people would have to cast in-person absentee ballots statewide. That means no more night or weekend hours.
In the two weeks leading up to the November 2012 election, roughly 20,000 Madison residents stood in line at the city clerk's office to cast an absentee ballot in-person. The clerk's office stayed open until 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday for two weeks prior to the election and was also open on the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend in-between.
"It provides the municipalities with flexibility depending on their needs," said Kevin Kennedy, Executive Director of the Government Accountability Board, who told the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections that night and weekend hours should remain in place.
But Assembly Republicans say that isn't fair.
"Most of our clerks statewide, they're part-time," said Rep. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), who authored AB 54. "They're not full-time, they don't have an office, they don't have office hours. They don't have evening hours, they don't have weekend hours."
Rep. Stroebel's bill would limit in-person absentee voting to weekdays only, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the two weeks leading up to the election.
"To be equitable, to be fair to all Wisconsinites, it only makes sense to have standardized hours throughout, just the same as we do on election day," said Rep. Stroebel.
While Committee members only heard testimony on that bill Wednesday, a majority voted in favor of Assembly Joint Resolution 25. It would only allow recall efforts to proceed against elected officials who have either committed a crime or an ethics violation.
It would prevent recalls over policy decisions, like the one Go. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) made on Act 10.
Democrats say its an unnecessary fix.
"It is a very dangerous precedent, piled on some other things we're doing basically in this legislature to limit people's participation in their democracy," said Rep. Teresa Berceau (D-Madison), who joined the two other Democrats on the Committee in voting against the resolution, which passed 6-3.
But a lot more work is ahead for Republicans on AJR 25. Because it seeks to establish a constitutional amendment changing the recall requirements, it would need to pass the full legislature in two consecutive sessions and then be approved by voters on a statewide ballot.
A similar resolution was passed by the Assembly in 2012, but died in the State Senate.
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