MADISON – Voting on the weekend could be a thing of the past in Wisconsin.
The state Assembly will vote on a bill Thursday that would limit early voting hours to weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The measure would also require the state to pay half the expenses for small communities offering early voting.
The state Senate passed the bill last week 17-16. All Democrats voted against it.
State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, wrote the bill.
“Obviously, it’s completely unfair to have some cities, which receive huge amounts of state aid, to have voting on weekends when you don’t have that in other areas,” said Grothman.
However, State Rep. Eric Genrich, D-Green Bay, says the measure will keep some people away from the polls.
“I think it’s a really, unfortunately, a very shameful attempt to suppress the vote, reduce our democratic participation in our elections,” said Genrich.
We did a FOX 11 Fact Check to see how many are voters use weekend hours. We looked at the last presidential election in 2012.
During the time, Green Bay and Oshkosh did not have weekend voting hours.
Appleton was open on one Saturday for four hours, and 136 people voted. That compares to 780 people who cast ballots the day before.
If the Assembly passes the bill, it would go to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk. The governor said Wednesday that he hasn’t decided whether he would sign it.
“I want to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat,” said Walker. “Obviously, I think there are some legitimate concerns about whether or not this makes it easier to vote now with some of the changes that have been proposed.”
The Assembly will take up nearly 70 bills Thursday. It is expected to be the Assembly’s last meeting of the year.