County Executive, County Clerk Announce Support of Referendum on Same-Day Registration

March 27, 2013
Carrie Springer, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Urge voters to voice support for voter rights in Wisconsin


Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and County Clerk Scott McDonell today urged Dane County voters to support the county-wide referendum on same day voter registration. In the November 2nd, 2010 election, more than a quarter of a million Wisconsin voters (230,330) and 38,063 Dane County voters exercised their right to register and vote on Election Day.


“Almost 80% of Dane County’s voters cast a ballot in the November 2012 election - one of the highest in the entire state and country.  This is something our state should be proud of and protect rather than trying to make it less convenient to vote . On Tuesday we have a chance to send a direct message to the state legislature -stop trying to make it more difficult for us to vote,” said Parisi.


State leaders recently expressed support for doing away with Wisconsin’s same-day registration law that has been in place since 1976. A report from the Government Accountability Board showing it could cost around $14 million to eliminate same-day registration has slowed the push somewhat, but many voting rights advocates remain concerned that a bill could be introduced yet this session.


Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell authored the resolution to put the referendum on the ballot while serving on the Dane County Board last year after hearing state leaders were advocating doing away with same-day registration.


“I worry that voters will pass over and not notice the same day voter registration referendum on the ballot.  It is incredibly important that Dane County voters send a message to the state Capitol that they support access to the ballot box for all Wisconsin voters,” said McDonell.


McDonell noted that on average between 10-15% of the electorate register to vote on election day, which leads to higher voter turnout. Seven of the top ten states for election participation allow same-day voter registration.

A resolution to put the advisory referendum on the April 2nd, 2013 ballot was passed by the Dane County Board. The resolution placed the question of “Should the state of Wisconsin continue to allow people to register to vote at the polls on Election Day?” on every ballot in Dane County.


Wisconsin experienced it’s highest voter turnout in state history in the November 2012 election and consistently ranks among the highest turnout states in the nation.


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