Monday, March 4, 2013

Caledonia's Weatherston Introduces Bill To Limit Early Voting

New school voucher lobbyist, Fitzgerald, Assembly Rep. Tom Weatherston
and Lucifer (far right)
The voter ID law, in retrospect, may have been an overreach. Blocked in state court with a federal suit as a ready back-up. The smarter play for voter-hating Republicans may have been to dismantle voting rights in less noticeable increments.

Welcome to the season of smaller increments.

On March 1st, newly elected Assembly Representative from Caledonia, Tom Weatherston, introduced AB 56 with a dozen of his new BFF's.

AB 56 limits early voting (or as it more accurately is called - in person absentee voting) by saying that early voting ends at exactly 5pm on the Friday before election day. Currently, early voting ends at 5pm or the close of business hours - whichever is later.

Republicans claim they are trying to make early voting consistent across the state - see Milwaukee and Racine sometimes offer early voting on a Saturday during the two week window available - you know, so working people can vote. But naturally, Republicans think that is unfair.

If they REALLY wanted to make early voting more consistent, they would require the myriad of small town clerks who have ignored early voting for years even though it's a state law to begin to honor it. But, not as many brownish people live in those places, so it's not a priority.

AB 56 stipulates that early voting ends at 5pm and the clerk's office must close. It says that absentee ballots can only be accepted between 7:30am and 5pm. Well, what if you are standing in line at 5pm to request your absentee ballot? This is just another badly written Republican law that brings up more questions than it answers.

On the Friday before the November election, there were at least 150 people in line to vote in Racine at 5pm. They were lined up the stairs of City Hall and across the second floor. If AB 56 had been in effect, all those people - old people, young people, working people - all eligible voters, would all those people still have been allowed to submit their absentee ballot after 5pm?

There is no other state law about the operation of the clerk's office in the state that work's this way - if you run in to your clerk's office to pay a bill or file something and the office officially closes at the end of the day - they are still going to process your shit...unless, that is, you are voting. In that case, you are out of luck.

You can stay in line to register your fucking dog but not to vote?

Mr. Weatherston has had enough time to become comfortable in his new job in Madison - let's give his staff something to do: Call his office at 608/266-0731 or 888/534-0062.