Walker says cost is too high for ending same-day voter registration

2012-12-13T08:00:00Z 2012-12-14T17:13:02Z Walker says cost is too high for ending same-day voter registrationMARY SPICUZZA | Wisconsin State Journal | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com

Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he wouldn't support a bill repealing same-day voter registration if it would cost taxpayers up to $5 million or more, even though he previously said he would sign such legislation.

"There's no way I'm signing a bill that cost that much money," Walker said at Virent, a renewable resources company, in Madison. "With that kind of dollar amount, to me, that's a non-starter."

A Government Accountability Board report issued Friday said eliminating Election Day registration would cost $5.2 million right away and another $1.9 million or so every two years after that, because of additional administrative costs.

Walker made the remarks to reporters after discussing his budget priorities and other issues with Virent workers as part of his "Talk with Walker" tour.

Walker also said after the event that it would be too divisive to enact legislation making Wisconsin a right-to-work state.

"In each of these issues, regardless of what my personal opinions have been in the past, I just think it's a huge distraction. In particular with what we saw in Michigan, what we saw nearly two years ago here in Madison," Walker said. "(Right-to-work) would be a huge distraction from our number one focus, which is helping the people of the state create more jobs."

Michigan lawmakers approved a law Tuesday making it a right-to-work state, which bans requirements that nonunion employees pay dues to unions for contract negotiations and other union services. Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature in 2011 enacted a law eliminating many public-sector union rights.

Walker had talked about his concerns over same-day voter registration, citing the work loads for clerks and poll workers, during a speech last month in California, and repeated them after returning to Wisconsin. But on Wednesday he said he never called for legislation repealing it.

"I didn't advocate for a bill, I didn't ever say it was a priority," Walker said. "I just said I thought it would be easier."

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, who emailed lawmakers last week saying he wanted to draft a bill that would end same-day registration, said he still wanted to look into repealing the law.

"Gov. Walker is CEO of the state, and I have full confidence that what he wants to see brought forward in the Legislature should be a priority. With the new numbers from the GAB, it's time to continue taking a close look at whether eliminating same-day registration is an economically feasible proposal," Kleefisch said Wednesday to reporters in the Capitol.

Kleefisch added that he has not yet written a bill.

"I'm just researching the bill right now. There's no soup. I'm just gathering ingredients," he said. "There may be some dispute to the GAB's costs."

Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, said Wednesday that Walker needs to "shut the door" on ending same-day registration and promise a veto of any possible legislation, but Walker said that's premature.

"The Legislature hasn't event started. I'm not issuing vetoes on anything yet," Walker said. "I'm pointing out I'm not supporting a bill that would spend millions of dollars on something like that. I'm trying to save money, not spend money."

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(23) Comments

  1. alshen
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    alshen - December 13, 2012 6:36 pm
    Maybe our suddenly cost-conscious governor should think about the cost of providing free state-issued ID cards to everyone that will be required to have one under the Voter ID bill. Current charge is $28/person. As he says, "there's no way I'm signing a bill that cost that much money,"

  2. array1
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    array1 - December 13, 2012 5:12 pm
    Well walkers is working hard, I'll give you that. It was walker afterall who dismantelled the fully functional Dept of Commerce and workerd hard to install his new WEDC which prompty lost tens of millions of tax payer dollars.

    I hear his son works hard too. So hard in fact he had no time to register to vote untill election day itself.
  3. Steve_R
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    Steve_R - December 13, 2012 5:08 pm
    There is nothing wrong with election day voter registration. We do not need IDs to vote. This is just Governor Scooter toeing the conservative line. He actually thinks he'll be able to make some kind of difference in 2014 and 2016. He won't matter then.
  4. knittingnancy
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    knittingnancy - December 13, 2012 4:45 pm
    Let's see all the gasbag republicans just cough up the funds for all of Walker's follies so the rest of us honest taxpayers are off the hook. It is easy to follow in the fool's footsteps if others are paying the bill. Where do you suggest to find more funds for the follies??
  5. schism
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    schism - December 13, 2012 3:07 pm
    Talk about a waste of ink and time.......No wonder the good Gov. Walker has had to work so hard to straighten out your state.
  6. racedog48
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    racedog48 - December 13, 2012 12:47 pm
    I hope Gov Walker changes his mind on this issue. Now is the time to mold this state with strong conservate ideas. Please don't listen to the pissant liberal. They will cry at all of the great ideas you have.

    Pass ending same day registration

    Pass right to work

    The majority of Wisconsin wants these laws.
  7. mic check
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    mic check - December 13, 2012 12:43 pm
    "Not intended to be a factual statement" - Jon Kyl's office
  8. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - December 13, 2012 9:46 am
    The great, bright, white light Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, is quoted as saying.

    "Gov. Walker is CEO of the state, and I have full confidence that what he wants to see brought forward in the Legislature should be a priority. With the new numbers from the GAB, it's time to continue taking a close look at whether eliminating same-day registration is an economically feasible proposal," Kleefisch said Wednesday to reporters in the Capitol.

    CEO? State government is a corporation? Have you switched from drinking Tea to Koch?

    And is it really "time to continue taking a close look"? Lets hope Vos doesn't put you on the Education committee.

  9. robertsthc
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    robertsthc - December 13, 2012 7:24 am
    Now that I know only republicans lie, I can blindly follow Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi forever. Yup...that Party that held Ted Kennedy as their moral compass and standard bearer.
  10. Tricolor Dog
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    Tricolor Dog - December 13, 2012 7:17 am
    Meanwhile, the John Doe investigation has closed shop in Milwaukee and has opened a new and bigger operation in Madison where the Doe family now lives.
  11. jimatmadison
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    jimatmadison - December 12, 2012 8:46 pm
    There aren't many things that would keep the GOP from trying to stop Americans from exercising their right to vote.

    $5 Mil is a small price for Wisconsin citizens to pay to achieve the GOP goal of undermining democracy.

    I fully expect the Republicans to try to push this through in the middle of some evening when nobody is looking.

    Same as the Michigan governor did with 'right to (have no benefits at) work. He told Congress under oath that he wasn't planning on pushing rtw legislation. He signed the legislation he said he didn't want yesterday.

    This is what Republican politicians do. They flat out lie about what their goals are.
  12. Wis_BlogRider
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    Wis_BlogRider - December 12, 2012 8:21 pm
    Once upon a time there was a scorpion who wanted to get across the lake. One day he came upon a frog. He asked the frog if the frog would be willing to swim across the lake while the scorpion rode upon his back. The frog replied, "I am sorry Mr. Scorpion, I cannot do that because you will sting me and we will both drown." The scorpion replied, "I give you my word, I promise not to sting you, I just want to get across this lake. Besides that would be stupid to do that!" So the kind hearted frog trusted the scorpion. The scorpion crawled on his back and the frog began to swim. When they got half way across the lake the scorpion stung him viciously in the back. The frog, now mortally wounded, screamed out crying: "Why did you do that? Don't you realize that now we are both going to die and drown in the lake!" The scorpion responded, "Yes I know, but I could not help it...I am Scott Walker and IT IS IN MY NATURE"
  13. Fartinthewind
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    Fartinthewind - December 12, 2012 8:14 pm
    Guess we'll just have to see how this one plays out.

    Act 1: Tea Party devotee returns from ALEC retreat, copies model legislation, introduces it to the assembly.

    Act 2: GAB announces cost of implementing is only 3.9 million and not 5 million

    Act 3 - Scene 1: Tea Party threatens to primary any republican voting against the legislation. Act 3- Scene 2: Walker remains silent.

    Act 4 - Scene 1: Assembly and Senate pass bill eliminating same day registration. Act 4 - Scene 2: Tea party rejoices

    Act 5: Walker Signs legislation.

    Epilogue: Tea Party devotees board plane to next ALEC retreat. Before door closes devotee turns and says we'll be back with RTW language.

  14. johnnn
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    johnnn - December 12, 2012 7:22 pm
    Remember, Mr. Walker doesn't have to sign a bill for it to become law. All he has to do is let it sit on his desk for six days and it automatically becomes law. So, he will feign upset about the cost, but let it default into law anyway.
  15. Beingbucky
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    Beingbucky - December 12, 2012 7:14 pm
    Walker claps gleefully every time a news cycle does not include indictments of former staff members. He is thrilled when the news is about kitchens, state parks, or the GAB. So it was a great day for Walker, and he will be happy to throw out all sorts of nonsense if it keeps us from wondering what was going on in Milwaukee.
  16. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - December 12, 2012 5:31 pm
    Dear Gov. Walker:

    Requiring photo ID for voters is also expensive.

    (Just in case you had a passing fancy to be consistent.)
  17. JAFO
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    JAFO - December 12, 2012 5:28 pm
    Joel is well acquainted with "Voter Fraud".


  18. JAFO
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    JAFO - December 12, 2012 5:25 pm
    The serial liar is at it again. If the Legislature passes a Bill eliminating same day voter registration, he will be more than happy to sign it into law. As far as covering the cost associated, he will just transfer the funds required from another State fund. He transferred about $450 million in his Budget to get it balanced as required by the State Constitution.
  19. Dante_in_Madison
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    Dante_in_Madison - December 12, 2012 5:15 pm
    Kleefisch is buffoon. This is a state, not a corporation. We don't have a CEO. It's morons like Kleefisch that get elected into office that give government a bad name. The man is too ignorant to know the difference between a CEO and a Governor.
  20. Hogzilla
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    Hogzilla - December 12, 2012 4:33 pm
    What did I tell ya'?
  21. Liberalsmakesense
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    Liberalsmakesense - December 12, 2012 4:33 pm
    Walker fooled Wisconsinites too many times when running for Governor. As a Governor who wants to be re-elected, he is not going to take too many chances. He will stay away from truly controversial bills for now.
  22. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - December 12, 2012 4:26 pm
    The cost of something has not deterred Governor Walker from doing what he wanted before. I suspect a more plausible explanation is that the people of Wisconsin just are not buying that proposition. And neither should they.

  23. Devastation608
    Report Abuse
    Devastation608 - December 12, 2012 4:04 pm
    Just cost?
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