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Gov. Walker, GOP Allies Put Voter Suppression Ahead of Helping the Middle Class

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Eyeing yet another way to give himself and his fellow Republicans an advantage at the polls, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last month told a gathering of GOP operatives and donors in California that he'd support repealing Wisconsin's 36-year-old law that allows for same-day voter registration.

In fact, ending same-day registration is the first piece of legislation coming from Walker's fellow Republicans. Republicans are kicking off their legislative agenda with a socially divisive, unnecessary and extremist piece of legislation instead of a jobs bill.

We don't need fewer people voting. We need more people working.

Walker told his Golden State friends that he wants to end same-day registration in Wisconsin not because of misconduct by voters or poll workers -- there isn't any -- but because registering people on the same day is too difficult for volunteers. The poll workers have answered, "bunk" -- or words to that effect.

Non-partisan election officials say repealing election-day registration will actually cause more problems, result in more federal mandates and cost taxpayers more.

Walker says we need to change our voting rules after Wisconsin gave President Obama his largest margin of victory of all swing states. Walker's latest "voting reform" plan is nothing more than another calculated attack on voters' rights.

A record three million Wisconsinites cast votes for president this time around, helping President Obama win the state by almost 7 percentage points.

In Milwaukee, 14,000 more Obama supporters showed up at the polls than four years ago and the city went for him with 79 percent of the vote (one point more than in 2008).

Of those who voted in Milwaukee, 54,000 (or almost 1 in 5) of them registered to vote on Election Day, helping to boost the city's turnout to a remarkable 87 percent, arguably the best voter turnout of any large city in America.

Many of these same-day voters were students, minorities and low-income families -- people who change addresses more frequently and tend to vote Democratic. And that's what has Walker and the Republicans running scared.

During this last campaign cycle, many Republicans in Wisconsin ran on a bipartisan jobs agenda. But now that the elections are over, and they control both houses of the legislature and the governor's office, they have moved back to the far right.

Wisconsin continues to rank among the worst states -- if not the worst state - in job growth, despite Walker's promise to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term. Yet the incoming Assembly Speaker says amending our state constitution to require voter ID at the polls is a top priority for the Republican-controlled legislature, after two state courts found it unconstitutional earlier this year. And he has enthusiastically embraced ending same-day voting.

Instead of finding compromise, being straight with the public and keeping their promises, Walker and Republicans like him would rather eliminate their competition by creating hurdles to the voting booth for people who don't agree with them.

The challenges facing Wisconsin families and the country are too great for this extremism to continue. It's time for Republicans to channel their energy into bringing us together to create jobs and strengthen our middle class.