Wisconsin board outlaws voluntary voter ID

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May 11, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

MADISON, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board voted on May 10, 2010, to stop an measure that would encourage Wisconsin voters to voluntarily show their photo identification before voting[1].

The movement which started by group of women in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties urged other citizens to tell their local elections officials to mandate some type of identification at the polls on a voluntary basis. Supporters of the movement felt that the voluntary voter identification provision would prevent others from voting using their own identities. However, a staff attorney for the Government Accountability Board warned a woman from suburban Milwaukee who led the movement that the practice is not allowed by state law. The attorney also warned the woman that having an "ID REQUIRED" notation by the voter's name on the registration list is for first time voters only[1].

Before the decision was rendered, Shane Falk, who is a staff attorney for Wisconsin's election authority said in a written memo: "this could result in a greater disruption of the polls on Election Day." Also, Falk emphasized to the Board that the practice could offend, confuse, or intimidate voters who refuse to show photo identification at the polls[1].

As part of the decision, the Government Accountability Board issued new procedures for allegations of related to voter idenity. The new procedures call for poll workers to be more aware to indicate if someone did or did not vote. If a error occurs on the role of the poll worker, the voter will be able to cast a challenged ballot that will count pending a further investigation. Also, poll workers will be required to immediately report the incident to the local police for further investigation[1].

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