EDITORIAL: Register ahead of election? Yes - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

EDITORIAL: Register ahead of election? Yes

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:00 am

Most states already require voters to think ahead.

AFTER ALL THE nasty brawling — not just in Wisconsin, but across the nation — over whether Voter ID amounts to sensible security at the polls or a barely veiled suppression effort, a partisan battle over scrapping same-day registration in the state seems unavoidable.

Currently, Wisconsin is one of just a handful of states that allow unregistered individuals to come to the polls on election day and take care of the business right then and there. A substantial majority of states require registration well in advance. For example, in Illinois, registration closes about a month before election day.

The tradition in Wisconsin, however, has been far more liberal. Some like that. Some think it’s ripe for fraud, and creates an undue last-minute burden on election officials.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, who apparently never saw a controversy he didn’t want to embrace, told an audience at the Reagan Library in California he is considering ending same-day registration in Wisconsin.

The governor’s comment sparked immediate outrage back home. Democrats accused Walker of hatching a plan whose true aim is to suppress the votes of minorities, young people and others.

Critics noted that such individuals tend to be less frequent participants in elections and, therefore, doing away with same-day registration might significantly reduce the number of voters, particularly in urban areas. That’s a sensitive point, since it is largely conceded that high turnout in urban areas resulted in President Obama defeating Mitt Romney on Nov. 6.

LET’S DEAL WITH the usual squawking about voter fraud first. There is no credible evidence to suggest a problem. Whether the issue is same-day registration or Voter ID, official investigations — in Wisconsin and across the nation — have turned up hardly any proof of fraud. If indeed instances of fraud were as widespread as the fanatic partisans claim, it wouldn’t be this hard to find.

So throw that concern out.

The idea that it’s burdensome for poll workers is much stronger, though. It is an unnecessary chore on a busy day.

Also, we’ve always believed citizens should prepare themselves to vote, not wander in off the sidewalk at the last minute. Earlier registration, arguably, would encourage citizens to think about the choices they’ll be making.

Our views have been consistent over the years on both Voter ID and registration. It’s not too much to ask citizens to prove they are who they say they are, so long as the state accepts the burden (and cost, for those in need) of making access to picture ID simple and easy.

Same on registration. It’s not too much to expect folks to register before election day. What’s the magic number — 30 days, 7 days, 3 days? We don’t know. But if the governor makes sure registration opportunities are easy and accessible, same-day registration can go.

  • Discuss

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Retiring Guy posted at 6:54 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    Retiring Guy Posts: 1


  • Delavan Mike posted at 9:55 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Wisconsin is one of the few states that permit same-day registration. So what. Maybe we are doing it right and should remain a model for the rest of the nation. Has anyone actually considered asking some real live poll workers if same-day registration is a burden on them? I think that is an excuse as lame as the voter fraud excuse. Maybe I am wrong. Any poll workers out there want to chime in and let me know if you feel overburdened by same-day registration? I am surprised Mr. Barth supports this. Wisconsin makes it easier to vote than any other state. Unless you really believe voter fraud is an issue (and even Mr. Barth does not), why is that bad? I don;t know that I believe all the talk about the Republicans being out to suppress voting, but this kind of stuff doesn't help their image any. Maybe there is something to it. They fail to defeat Obama and Baldwin defeats Thompson and within a few weeks this comes up. Maybe I do believe.

  • dawn07 posted at 7:21 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    dawn07 Posts: 124

    Governor Walker's concern comes a bit too close after an election where the losing party seemed so surprised by the high turnout in urban areas, so we know where his head is. I observed at several polling locations in the city for the last election and saw quite a few amazing things... First of all, Beloit does a very good job with their elections and the poll workers are knowledgable people who are dedicated to helping residents vote. I also saw quite a few prominent community members, doctors and police officers, registering on the day to vote. Gee, you'd think those folks would be better prepared and not wandering off the sidewalks at the last minute. I mean, what else could they be thinking about, BDN?

    I do have a question though. Why is it that Republicans like Governor Walker are against local control when they say that they are for.. local control? Seems that if Wisconsin gets rid of same day registration, we then are subject to federal reguations that we will have to implement instead:



Print ads