Absentee voting

Voters cast their absentee ballots at the City-County Building in late May 2012 for the June 5 recall election that year.

A New York Times story this weekend looks at the recently signed law to reduce voting hours in Wisconsin in context with similar efforts in other states where the electorate swings between Republicans and Democrats.

“Republicans defend the measures, saying Democrats are overstating their impact for partisan reasons,” the Times story says, adding that nine states have made it harder to vote since Jan.1, 2013. “The new rules, Republicans say, help prevent fraud, save money and bring greater uniformity to a patchwork election system.”

But “Democrats and other critics of the laws say that in the face of shifting demographics, Republicans are trying to alter the rules and shape the electorate in their favor,” the story says. “Those most affected by the restrictions are minorities and the urban poor, who tend to vote Democratic.”

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker signed a law Thursday that limits the hours municipalities can make in-person absentee voting available, including a prohibition on weekend hours.

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League of Women Voters of Wisconsin executive director Andrea Kaminski told The Capital Times’ Jack Craver that the league is considering a challenge to the law (the group’s suit against a state voter ID law is still ongoing), but added that, “We don’t want to go to court until we’re pretty sure we've got a strong case.”