In the early voting measure, Walker used his partial veto powers — the most powerful in the nation — to nix language restricting early voting hours in Milwaukee and other cities to 45 hours a week while leaving in place a provision to prohibit early voting on weekends.
Democrats have decried those voting limits as the latest effort by the GOP to make it harder for minorities, veterans, the elderly and students to vote, saying it amounted to “fixing elections” rather than problems.
Republicans said they were advancing the measure because they want voting hours to be more uniform around the state, particularly because rural officials don’t have the staff to keep clerks’ offices open for early voting as late as their urban counterparts.
Under the legislation as rewritten by Walker, early voting in clerk’s offices could take place solely on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. but would not face the additional limit of 45 hours per week.
Walker also struck out a part of the bill added by Senate Republicans that would have required the state to pay for half of the expenses for smaller communities offering early voting at a cost of about $200,000.
The governor’s changes softened the effect of the bill but are unlikely to appease Democrats.