Recall Elections Report Released: Election Protection Says Law Changes Disfranchised Voters

25 Jul

The following press release was issued by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Election Protection coalition today. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation is a member of Wisconsin Election Protection. Thanks to all of the attorneys, volunteers, observers, polling place staffers and watchdogs who help keep Wisconsin’s elections system strong. Together, we can all help to make it better. Read on for ways our elections can be improved to allow all eligible voters to cast their ballot.

Recent changes in voting laws in Wisconsin disfranchised voters in the June 5 Recall Election, according to a report issued by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Election Protection coalition today. Voter and poll worker misinformation and confusion over photo ID requirements, registration and residency documentation and the lack of corroboration kept eligible voters from casting a ballot. The Wisconsin Election Protection report suggests changes the State of Wisconsin can make to improve our voting system to ensure that all voters can participate in our elections.

Wisconsin Election Protection, in cooperation with the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, sponsored the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline for the Recall Election where attorneys and highly trained volunteers answered more than 2,000 calls from voters and poll observers. In cooperation with The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network more than 150 observers were placed in polling places around the state. The report issued today is a summary of issues attorneys and volunteers addressed state-wide.

“The biggest problems that we saw are that misinformation, limited poll worker training and recent changes in state law that make it harder to register and vote are the real problems that must be addressed before the November Presidential Election,” said Milwaukee attorney and hotline coordinator Attorney Ann Jacobs. “Claims of voter fraud that some raised after the election were found to be simply incorrect. The greatest threats to our elections are in the impediments eligible voters face on Election Day.”

The Wisconsin Election Protection report outlines concerns the coalition has with confusion over registration and residency documentation, voter and poll worker misinformation and confusion over photo ID requirements polling place location changes, lines and delays for voters, inadequate registration forms and ballots in a high-turnout election, and inadequate training for poll workers – particularly after there have been significant changes in voting laws, and some instances of voter intimidation by elections observers and poll workers.

The report also includes recommendations for the 2012 Presidential Election that the Government Accountability Board should consider including:

  • Improving guidance on what documents are and are not acceptable for voter registration;
  • Allowing proof of residence to be in electronic form (as many utilities, banks and other formal institutions move to online statements);
  • Posting the DMV hotline so that voters who have lost their driver’s licenses or state ID cards can call for the number needed to register;
  • Restoring corroboration for voters who do not have residency documentation in their names;
  • Restoring the ability to send and receive absentee ballots by e-mail or fax;
  • Improving Chief Inspectors’ and poll workers’ training statewide;
  • Ensuring adequate signage, ballots and registration materials for high-turnout elections;
  • Using a single, uniform statewide  voter registration form;
  • Expanding voter education; and communicating with all voters and poll workers about the current status of the Voter ID law.

These changes would improve Wisconsin’s voting system for the August 14 primaries and the November 6 election. Coalition members will be working to educate citizens about their voting rights for upcoming elections. For the Presidential Election, Wisconsin Election Protection will again have trained volunteers and attorneys staffing the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and observing polling places. 

Wisconsin Election Protection is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations whose purpose is to protect voting rights, expose and prevent voter intimidation, and to preserve access to the polls for all voters.  For more on Wisconsin Election Protection, visit our Facebook page or follow us @EPWisco on Twitter. Find more about the national Election Protection project online.

Download the full Wisconsin Election Protection report on the June 5 Recall Election

Download a PDF of the Wisconsin Election Protection press release on the report

One Response to “Recall Elections Report Released: Election Protection Says Law Changes Disfranchised Voters”

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  1. Are Student Votes on the Moving Truck? Early Primary Voting Starts Today « Forward for Liberty - July 30, 2012

    […] for all voters, but that effort failed. (More electronic options should be the future of voting: Wisconsin Election Protection issued their report on the June 5 Recall Election in which they recommended options for people to show proof of residence […]

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