GOP election plans put democracy in danger

To the editor:

A democracy is in danger of extinction when its citizens find it difficult to vote. If we want our democracy to survive, we need to make it easier to vote.

Wisconsin has previously been a progressive state that encouraged people to vote through its expansion of voting options. We have allowed same-day voter registration. We have given working individuals extra days to register to vote right up to the Friday before an election. College students could vote in the towns where they were living as they pursued their education. All that could change if the Republicans in the Legislature have their way.

At the recent GOP convention, a plan to suppress votes was approved. In the proposal, same-day voter registration would be abolished. Many new voters or those who have recently moved into the area could then find it dfficult to cast their vote. It is true that voters can register to vote online at, but they can only do so if they have a driver’s license or voter ID card that includes an address and name that matches what is on file with the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles. Gone are the days when a corroborating witness could vouch for an individual’s residency on Election Day. Without a valid driver’s license or voter ID, a residency document must now be presented.

Another GOP proposal that would halt the practice of voter registration 10 days prior to Election Day would be hard on working voters. In rural communities, it’s challenging enough to locate the proper municipal clerk, but with a change to Wisconsin’s registration rules, individuals would need to zero in on registering to vote in person more than two weeks before an election. The current cutoff for online and mail-in registration is 20 days before an election.

Many students live great distances from the school they attend. If college students are banned from voting in the towns where they are currently residing, as called for in the Republican plan, they would have to vote absentee. That would require additional effort prior to the date of the election, a true inconvenience.

These GOP proposals are an unconstitutional attempt to suppress the vote. We need to stand up and reject this attack on our democracy.

Jan Koch,