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Report: Ending same-day voter registration to cost Wisconsin $14.5M

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - It would cost $14.5 million for Wisconsin to end its long-running policy of letting voters register at the polls on Election Day.

The state Government Accountability Board spelled out the extra costs in a report issued Monday morning.

Because Wisconsin has same-day registration, it does not have to comply with the federal “motor voter” law, in which people can register to vote when they renew driver’s licenses or apply for government benefits.

Last fall, the Accountability Board said it would cost that agency alone an extra $5.2 million to mail out various notices to comply with the federal law. And while Republican Governor Scott Walker supported dumping same-day registration, he was against having to spend the $5 million.

Now, the cost estimate is almost three times that much, after costs from the DOT, the Health Services Department, and other state agencies were added in.

At last word, at least one Assembly lawmaker was still ready to press ahead to dump same-day voter registration, even with the extra costs. Some Republicans in the past have said that same-day registration helps Democrats.

In Milwaukee, over 50,000 people registered on Election Day last November – and both the city and the state helped Democratic President Barack Obama get re-elected. 

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