Home About Us/Contact B1G Challenge Vote by Mail Quarantined Legislation 2021-22 Registration Suppression



One WI Institute v Nichol, federal lawsuit brief.  This brief describes effects of many of these laws.

Above lawsuit summary and all documents

Judge Peterson order July 29, 2016

WEC memo on implementing Peterson orders Aug 23, 2016

NYT Letter to Editor


pdf of this page


Voter Suppression in Wisconsin

Since 2011, several Wisconsin law changes have made it harder to participate in our system of representative democracy.  They are listed in chronological order.    (“Lawsuit brief” refers to One Wisconsin Institute v. Nichol.)

"Wisconsin, however, exceeded all other states in the number of new restrictive voting and registration measures enacted between 2011 and 2014." - Expert report, page 5, by Professor Allan Lichtman.

2011 Act 23 - One of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.  Legislative Council Memo, pages 1-5.  See lawsuit brief, page 43-47.

Early voting provision of Act 23:  Reduced early voting from 30 days to 12 days.  (Same day registration is allowed during early voting.) Legislative Council Memo, page 8.  See lawsuit brief, page 17.  (Legislation in 2018 changed this to 13 days.)

Residency provision of Act 23:  increases the residency requirement from 10 days before an election to 28 consecutive days before an election. The Act also provides that an individual who moves within this state later than 28 days before an election must vote at his or her previous ward.  Legislative Council Memo, page 6.  See lawsuit brief, pages 38-40.

Voter registration provisions of Act 23:  eliminated corroboration of residency for registration on election day.  Eliminated registration on the three days preceding an election.  Eliminated state-wide Special Registration Deputies, but local ones are still OK.  Finally, eliminated use of college housing lists as proof of residence, by requiring the list to indicate who is a citizen.  Colleges are not allowed to produce such a list under the Family Educational rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Legislative Council Memo, pages 6-7, and the lawsuit brief, page 17.  (Court decisions in 2016 and 2020 removed the requirement for citizenship information on housing lists.)

2011 Act 240 - Eliminated the requirement to have a Special Registration Deputy at all public high schools. See Legislative Council memo.  See lawsuit brief, page 18.

2011 Act 75 - Eliminated ability for clerks to email or fax a ballot to all absentee voters except statutory overseas and military voters.  See section 50 of Act 75 or Legislative Council memo, page 2.  See lawsuit brief, page 18.

2013 Act 76 - This state law overturned a Madison ordinance that required landlords to provide voter registration forms to new tenants.  See Act 76, section 2.  See lawsuit brief, page 21.

2013 Act 146 - Eliminated early voting on weekends. (Same day registration is allowed during early voting.) See Legislative Council memo.  See lawsuit brief, page 20-21.  (This was overruled by legislation in 2018.)

2013 Act 182 - Requires all voters to provide documentary proof of residence.  Previously, this requirement did not apply to those who registered more than 20 days before an election, since all registrants have their residence checked via a verification postcard.  See Legislative Council memo.  See lawsuit brief, page 21.

2015 Act 261 - Completely eliminates Special Registration Deputies (effective January 2017), thereby hindering voter registration drives.  (This Act also allows online registration for those who have a driver's license or DOT ID card.   SRD's are eliminated when the system is launched.)  SRD's will no longer be able to check and document proof of residence. The net result is that it will be easier to register for those with a DL or DOT ID, but harder for those without a DL or DOT ID. See Legislative Council memo, page 2.  MSNBC:  "Wisconsin throws up major registration hurdle."

Absentee voting provisions of 2015 Act 261, starting with the November 2016 election (see WEC memo).  Absentee ballots will be rejected if they are missing a witness' address. This act also changes the deadline for arrival.  Previously they needed to be postmarked by Election Day and arrive by the Friday after the election.  Act 261 forces rejection of those who arrive after Election Day.  See Legislative Council memo, page 2.  See letter to editor.

Letter of opposition to Act 261 from a coalition of 15 organizations.

Web page by Paul Malischke       malischke@yahoo.com       Last updated September 11, 2020