Wisconsin 2012 Elections Ranked Third In Nation

Criteria Included Turnout, Voter Information

I voted sticker
Photo: Ryan Greenberg

Wisconsin’s November 2012 elections ranked third best in the nation, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Pew report ranked Wisconsin well because of its high turnout and because of all the information it provides voters. Wisconsin also has comparatively short wait times for voting.

Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy says the state also scored well because voters here cast a relatively smaller number of provisional ballots. Kennedy says that’s due in part to the state’s same-day registration law, which some Republicans have talked about repealing. Kennedy says that would be a mistake.

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“I think it would definitely have a negative impact in terms of services for the voter. And I think it would be very costly for the state,” he said.

Kennedy says one way Wisconsin could improve its score is by adding online voter registration.

“We have 20 states now that have moved to that, and it really is a process that helps make the rolls more accurate, definitely serves the voter and is a very proven and secure way to get yourself registered,” he said.

Kennedy says it’s too early to say whether the law Gov. Scott Walker just signed ending weekend in-person absentee voting will have any effect on access to the polls and Wisconsin’s rankings.

“You know, the real test will be if those hours are in place in 2016, because we don’t have as many absentee voters in a gubernatorial election,” he said.

Wisconsin has consistently ranked among the top states in the Pew survey. It trailed only North Dakota and Minnesota in 2012.