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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 1:19 AM 

Debate kicks off on online voter registration bill

Dems are trying to amend an online voter registration bill by restoring the special registration deputies the bill would eliminate.

"Pass a clean bill," Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, said.

SB 295 would let the state start a system for electronic voter registration. That system could be used by eligible voters who hold state driver’s licenses or ID cards. If their information is verified by the Department of Transportation, those voters would not have to provide proof of residence.

A sub amendment to the bill requires, among other things, the online voter registration system be up and running by the 2017 spring primary.

The bill and sub also eliminate the special registration deputies and replace them with election registration officials assigned by a clerk. That provision has drawn pushback from some groups and Dems who argue eliminating the volunteer deputies would put an end to voter registration drives.

Another provision in the bill that faces opposition would change the rules for counting absentee ballots. Under current law, the ballots must be postmarked by Election Day. Under the sub, the ballots must be delivered to the polling place by Election Day.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also has a proposed amendment up for the bill. The Rochester Republican's amendment deals with a campaign contributions provision. The tweak would serve as a catch-all, making sure there are limits for campaign contributions to state lawmakers from federal PACs.


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