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Election observers: Photo ID law had impact on student polling sites

A League of Women Voters of Wisconsin report on the April 5 election shows the need for voter education and training of election officials as to what constitutes acceptable proof of residence for voter registration and photo ID for voting.

The league placed 103 volunteer election observers at 202 polling sites across the state. These observers were trained to witness the application of new laws and procedures including the new photo ID requirement for voting, polling site organization and mechanics, the ease of registration, as well as the knowledge of election officials and polling site management.

The report finds that the application of the voter photo ID law had a significant impact at sites with large student populations.

Also, the league said, the new laws caused confusion, were misapplied by election officials and prevented eligible citizens from voting.

“Many voters who have a current Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID reported no problems voting in the April 5 election and that is the way it should be for all voters. However, it was not so simple for people who don’t have a Wisconsin ID or who have moved recently or never voted before. With one million more voters expected in November, that could lead to serious problems. An investment in voter education now will make a huge difference for all voters in the fall,” stated Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

The report cannot quantify the number of voters who may have misunderstood the photo ID law and therefore never even tried to vote, said the league.

On the Web

Read the report.

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