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Advisory referendum on same-day voter registration placed on Milwaukee ballot


MILWAUKEE (WSAU)   Milwaukee voters will be asked whether they support Wisconsin’s long-time practice of letting voters register at the polls on Election Day. The Common Council voted 11-to-4 yesterday to put the question on the April 2 ballot in an advisory referendum.

Supporters believe that Milwaukeeans will heavily endorse same-day registration – and they hope it will send a message to Republican state lawmakers to leave the system alone. But Alderman Bob Bauman noted that spring elections generally have lower turnouts, and he told supporters quote, “You may not get the results you’re looking for.” All of the aldermen said they supported same-day registration in general – but they said a referendum might not be the best way to show that support. Last November, over 54,000 Milwaukeeans – or one-in-every-five city voters – registered at the polls, as President Obama easily carried both the city and Wisconsin.

Some Republicans have said the same-day registration favors Democrats. G-O-P Governor Scott Walker says he’d like to get rid of it. But he won’t push it, because it would cost millions-of-dollars to follow federal election laws from which the state is now exempt due to its same-day registration system.