UPDATE: Walker signs early voting bill with partial veto


UPDATED Thursday, March 27, 2014 --- 2:33 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed into law a bill that limits in-person absentee voting to no later than 7 p.m. during the week and no weekend hours.

Walker vetoed a portion of the bill Thursday that limited the hours of early voting to no more than 45 in each of the two weeks prior to an election. He kept the prohibition on weekend voting.

Democrats strongly opposed the measure, saying it was targeted at tamping down turnout in heavily Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison which held extended hours during the 2012 presidential election.

Scot Ross, director of liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, says the law is unconstitutional and likely will be challenged in court.

Walker's spokeswoman Laurel Patrick says the bill is about ensuring uniform voting hours.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 10:47 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In-person absentee voting would no longer be allowed past 7 p.m. or on weekends in Wisconsin under a bill that has passed the Legislature.

The Republican-controlled Assembly voted 56-38 to pass the measure Thursday night, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against. It now heads to Gov. Scott Walker.

Opponents say restricting the hours is an unconstitutional attempt to make it more difficult for minorities in Wisconsin's largest cities of Milwaukee and Madison to vote. But Democrats, who predicted courts would toss the law, didn't have the votes to stop it.

Republican supporters say limiting early voting is needed because it's not fair that large cities can offer it while voters who live in areas without the resources to hold extended hours don't get that opportunity.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 5:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In-person absentee voting would no longer be allowed past 7 p.m. or on weekends in Wisconsin under a bill one step away from passing the Legislature.

The Republican-controlled Assembly planned to vote on the measure Thursday. If passed as expected it would then go to Gov. Scott Walker.

Opponents say restricting the hours is an unconstitutional attempt to make it more difficult for minorities in Wisconsin's largest cities of Milwaukee and Madison to vote. But Democrats didn't have the votes to stop it.

Republican supporters say limiting early voting is needed because it's not fair that large cities can offer it while voters who live in areas without the resources to hold extended hours don't get that opportunity.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 12, 2014 --- 10:24 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In-person absentee voting in the two weeks prior to an election would be reduced and barred on the weekends under a bill that has passed the state Senate.

With all but one Republican in support and all Democrats against the measure passed 17-16 on Wednesday. It now heads to the Assembly, which plans to pass it next week.

The bill would limit in-person absentee voting to Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the two weeks before an election. No weekend voting would be allowed and only 45 hours a week of early voting would be permitted.

Democratic opponents say the bill is designed to make voting more difficult.

Republican Sen. Dale Schultz, who is not seeking re-election, joined all 15 Democrats in voting against it.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 11, 2014 --- 11:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he is open to a bill that would limit in-person absentee voting in the two weeks leading up to an election.

Walker said Tuesday that while the proposal hasn't been on his radar, it is something he will look at once it passes the Legislature. The state Senate was scheduled to vote on the measure Tuesday afternoon or evening.

The bill is opposed by a variety of groups who view it as an attack on access to the polls, especially for minorities. Both Milwaukee and Madison held extended voting hours in the 2012 election.

The bill would only allow in-person absentee voting to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays in the two weeks before an election. No weekend hours would be allowed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 11, 2014 --- 10:32 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In-person absentee voting would no longer be allowed on weekends in Wisconsin under a bill the Republican-controlled state Senate is scheduled to consider.

Tuesday's vote is opposed by a variety of groups who view it as an attack on access to the polls, especially for minorities. Both Milwaukee and Madison held extended voting hours in the 2012 election.

The bill would only allow in-person absentee voting to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays in the two weeks before an election. No weekend hours would be allowed.

A similar version passed the Assembly in November but because this one differs it would take another Assembly vote before going to Gov. Scott Walker.

The Senate is also taking up a number of other elections-related bills on Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, March 10, 2014 --- 10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A coalition of groups is speaking out against elections-related bills up for a vote in the state Senate, including one that would limit in-person absentee voting hours and another that would allow lobbyists to give donations to politicians sooner than they can now.

Members of the Coalition to Protect Wisconsin Elections held a news conference Monday to urge the Senate to reject the bills that are up for votes Tuesday. The bills are sponsored by Republicans, who control the Senate, and expected to pass.

One proposal would limit in-person absentee voting to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays in the two weeks before an election.

Mike Wilder, co-chairman of the African American Roundtable in Milwaukee, calls that and others up for a vote "anti-democracy bills."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Posted Thursday, March 6, 2014 --- 4:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In-person absentee voting hours would not be allowed on weekends or holidays in Wisconsin under a bill passed by a state Senate committee.

The measure passed 3-2 Thursday with all Republicans for it and Democrats against.

The bill would limit in-person absentee voting to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Total in-person absentee voting would be limited to no more than 45 hours a week.

Democrats say it's designed to cut back on hours that people can vote absentee in large Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison. Both cities held extended hours during the 2012 election.

The Assembly passed a similar bill but because this one differs it would have to pass both houses again before being sent to Gov. Scott Walker.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


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