Elimination of Election Day Registration Legislation is coming up again

Elimination of Election Day Registration Legislation is coming up again

11th December 2012

Faith Elford

The WMCA Election Communication Committee (ECC) will begin a very active session in the months ahead.

This fall, the Government Accountability Board (GAB) created a Task Force on Election Administration Issues and Concerns. The Task Force is made up of Municipal and County Clerks. The WMCA President appointed members of the Election Communication Committee to represent WMCA on this group. The Wisconsin County Clerks Association (WCCA) had submitted a list of their concerns prior to the meeting. I had asked the GAB that the same courtesy be extended to WMCA. The Committee will be meeting on December 13 to finalize a survey that will be sent to members looking for input. These concerns will then be presented to the Task Force. These concerns will also be used when the Committee is asked to meet with State Representatives and the GAB.

Of recent concern by the Committee is Gov. Walker’s comment that he will be promoting the elimination of Election Day Registration. This Committee was present and addressed this concern at the March 2011 GAB Board Meeting.

ECC History on EDR
On January 27, 2011 a group of over 40 municipal and county clerks meet to discuss items that would need to be revised to make the Voter ID Bill work effectively, as well as items that would help in election administration for future election reform bills, EDR’s was also discussed at that time and the consensus was the elimination would be a challenge and burden to the municipalities. . It was felt the very small and larger municipalities would have the most burden with the elimination of EDR, since more people would be showing up in their office/home (if they work from home) to register as well as dealing with an increase in Provisional Ballots as required by NVRA.

I have attached a portion of the report the GAB presented at their March meeting, which includes the concerns as addressed at the January 27, 2011 meeting. It gives a good overview of the pros and cons. I've heard from some clerks that want to eliminate EDR’s, but given the full scope of the fallout, it would actually create more work for us and frustration for the voter. After we discussed the issue with the Federal NVRA requirements, they changed their view.

On Thursday, February 24, 2011, Nancy Zastrow and I attended the Assembly Election Committee, where testimony at the meeting was by invitation only. There were nine groups that spoke for about five hours of testimony at that meeting. We addressed the EDR as well as other concerns of the clerks.

2012 ECC Involvement
At this time I have been contacted by numerous media outlets concerning the EDR issue: Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay newspapers, as well as the
New York Times and NBC-New York. This issue is bringing more attention than it did two years ago. I have been working with GAB to get clarification on some issues; this information will then be sent out to the committee and members with the survey.

In the next few months I am confident we will again be asked to provide testimony pertaining to this issue. I am waiting to see who will be appointed to the Assembly and Senate Election Committees so we can begin addressing our concerns. Items on the top of the list are the EDR, hand counting ballots, and restoring the Monday before the election deadline for absentee voting.

Action Taken
Attached a copy of a Resolution passed by the WMCA Board of Directors opposing the elimination of Election Day Registration. This Resolution will be presented to the State Reps and GAB.

I will again be encouraging all the committee members to attend various meetings in the near future. Our time is valuable to our communities but it really helps when we attend the meetings as a united group. We will also encourage the membership to contact their State Representatives after they research and become informed on proposed Bills. The impact of all those contacts really helps us present our concerns to the State representatives.

We will again be very active in 2012-13 since there will be more involvement than ever from special interest groups and political parties, because there will be more Election Law Proposals in the works as we head into the new year. Please contact me if you have any questions, comments, concerns or would like to become more involved.

Diane Hermann-Brown WCPC/CMC/CPM, City of Sun Prairie, Co-Chair
WMCA President Vikki Zuehlke WCMC/CMC, Village of Waterford, Co-Chair

P.S. From Your President - "I urge you to take the time to read this information, as it’s very important to your position as clerk and may affect your duties substantially. The media has been calling for statements and if for some reason someone contacts you, please do not respond unless you have read this report. It will also be very important that you communicate your concerns to your local representatives. Here is the link to make it easy to find your representatives - http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx."

WMCA President Vikki Zuehlke WCMC/CMC


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