Wis. Senate debates eliminating absentee voting, but no vote Tue - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wis. Senate debates eliminating absentee voting, but no vote Tuesday

Posted: Updated:
MADISON, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- Debate grew heated Tuesday evening in the State Capitol, where senators debated a bill to alter absentee voting hours statewide.

Current Wisconsin law allows for two weeks of early voting ending on the Friday before an election.

The bill debated in the senate Tuesday would limit absentee voting hours to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. Early voting on weekends would no longer be permitted. Total, absentee voting hours would be limited to no more than 45 hours per week.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the bill would put all of Wisconsin's voters on a level playing field. He said his constituents have complained about seeing long, weekend voting drives in Milwaukee covered on the news. Fitzgerald said such drives are not possible in small, rural communities that lack the manpower to staff polling places during weekends.

"People want consistency," Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said.

"It just presents the image, whether you buy into it or not, that it's not fair," he said.

"People expect the polls to open at a specific time and close at a specific time and they expect that to be state-wide," Fitzgerald said.

But Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) said different communities require different voting procedures. He said limiting voting hours for the sake of uniformity is unethical.

"It's different to vote in an urban area where there are a large number of voters assigned to one polling place," Cullen said, "versus a rural area where there aren't ever long lines."

Cullen also said weekend voting hours are needed to accommodate voters who work long hours during the week and can't take time off to vote on Tuesday elections.

If the senate decides to pass the bill, it would also need to pass the assembly before Republican Governor Scott Walker could sign it into law.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Anna Engelhart at 608-661-2767. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.