Hesselbein Urges 'Yes' Vote on Election Day Registration Referendum

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MTT News Desk's picture
Matt Geiger
Hesselbein, at left during her swearing in ceremony in January, is urging voters to support Election Day registration.

When Middletonians fill out their Spring Election ballots on April 2 (or now through early voting) to determine the outcome of races for town board and school board, they will also have the opportunity to answer a countywide referendum question on voter registration.

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) issued a statement this week calling it “the most important question voting citizens will answer.” Hesselbein, who served on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board  and Dane County Board before winning a seat in the state legislature, urged the community to vote yes on the question: “Should the state of Wisconsin continue to allow people to register to vote at the polls on Election Day.”

Republicans say eliminating Election Day registration would help reduce the risk of voter fraud. Democrats say their conservative counterparts are simply attempting to prevent demographics that are traditionally liberal from taking part in the democratic process.

“Same day registration allows voters who are not registered at their current residence to fill out their voter registration application, prove their eligibility to vote at the polling place, and then act upon their constitutional right by voting,” said Hesselbein. “Those who benefit from same day registration are those who recently turned 18, individuals who may have recently moved, or people voting for the first time.”

“Registration applications are processed by trained, sworn election officials who ensure the legitimacy of the voter’s information,” she continued.  

A bill introduced last session by Republican legislators intended to eliminate same day voter registration. Other Republican-sponsored bills introduced this session also attempt to reverse Wisconsin’s same-day voting. Hesselbein said those pushing to abolish same-day registration “seek to disenfranchise Wisconsin voters with anti-democracy measures.”

The non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB) went through a complete analysis with four cabinet agencies to determine the additional costs of eliminating election day registration.  The GAB reported additional costs to state government would rise between $11,262,880 and $16,254,112 over an initial two-year period.

“Wisconsin must not restrict the citizen’s role in government, but we should instead continue to increase accessibility, transparency and participation in our democratic process,” said Hesselbein. “We cannot compromise the ability of thoughtful citizens to express their voice at the ballot box.”


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