I was pleased to meet you in person on April 17, Lobby Day for Voting Rights, and enjoyed being able to speak with Nate Simmons, director of Constituent Relations.
Your office received a proposal for county-wide special registration deputies (SRDs) this week from Rep. Terese Berceau and Sen. Tim Cullen. This is the legislation that I spoke of with Nate during our meeting. As a constituent in your district, I would like you to co-sponsor this legislation, LRB 1518/2.
Statewide SRDs were abolished in 2011 Wisconsin Act 23. Under current law, those wishing to register voters can only be appointed by a municipality or township. In order to register voters who are from other townships, the SRD must go to each township for training and appointment. This is inefficient for both clerks and SRDs and involves multiple trainings, appointing and recordkeeping across the borders of different townships. See Statute 6.26.
In my community, the Lakeland Union High School (LUHS) serves the townships of Arbor Vitae, Boulder Junction, Harshaw, Hazelhurst, Lac du Flambeau, Lake Tomahawk, Land O’Lakes, Manitowish Waters, Minocqua, Presque Isle, Winchester and Woodruff. I would have to go to 12 different town clerks to be appointed as an SRD. With this new legislation, I would only have to go to two different county clerks if I wanted to register new voters at LUHS or the Nicolet College campus.
Since the statewide SRDs were eliminated, this proposed legislation for county-wide SRDs would give county clerks throughout the state the opportunity to train and authorize SRDs, and would greatly mitigate travel expenses for both trainers and SRDs. Individual counties will be able to determine the proper amount of resources for this program.
I encourage you to co-sponsor and support LRB 1518/2. If you would like to sign on to this legislation, please contact Rep. Berceau’s office by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 3.
Yolan Mistele, Arbor Vitae