Gov. Walker Signs Uniform Early Voting Bill into Law with Partial Veto

MacIver News Service | March 28, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 324, legislation that would standardize the times for voting early by in-person absentee in the state, with a partial veto on Thursday.

The law will require all municipalities to offer early voting from 8am to 7pm Monday through Friday in the two weeks prior to the election. Walker vetoed an aspect of the bill that would have capped the total time allowed to 45 hours per week.

With Walker’s partial veto, voters will be given a total of 110 hours of early voting time, which will be uniform across Wisconsin. The law also effectively ends weekend voting, which had become commonplace in cities like Madison and Milwaukee.

Rep. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg), author of the Assembly version of the bill, commended Walker for signing the legislation.

“Even with the Governor’s partial vetoes, the final passage of this bill marks an important step forward in ensuring that our elections are consistent and fair,” Stroebel said in a statement. “Providing a standard timeframe for in-person absentee voting establishes uniformity in elections while also preserving flexibility for municipalities.”

During the floor debate in the Senate and the Assembly, opponents to the bill compared it Jim Crow laws.

Now that the bill has been signed into law, it is possible that it may face legal challenges. At a press conference earlier this month, Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said his organization would file a lawsuit if SB 324 became law, calling the legislation “racist and elitist.”