December 12, 2017
To: Wisconsin Election Commission
From: League of Women Voters of Wisconsin
Re: Agenda items for September 12, 2017 WEC meeting
First, LWV WI has made statements in the past regarding WEC staffing. However, in light of recent events, we would like to reiterate our strong support for a fully funded WEC staff. It is crucial that our state elections agency have the needed knowledge and expertise to oversee election security, education, updated voting equipment and implementation of best practices.
Secondly, the materials WEC shared in advance of this meeting about ballot design was reviewed by a LWV WI committee for comment. Overall, the comments were positive, and League members appreciate the update in design and improved navigation and instruction. LWV WI will provide additional comments to appropriate WEC staff about specific concerns in the new ballot samples. We would like to thank the WEC staff for the updates and changes to the ballot that make the voting experience better for voters.
Next, LWV WI would simply like to highlight that one of the most concerning takeaways from the UW Study regarding Photo ID requirement is that many voters and potential voters are confused by the photo ID requirement in Wisconsin, and this shows the need for additional voter education. While many Wisconsin voters may already have the proper ID to vote, there is much confusion surrounding the law and requirements. LWV WI will continue to advocate for more funding so that no voter is deterred due to lack of understanding. If, as Dr. Mayer concluded, “there were no significant differences between people who had seen information about the voter ID law and those who had not,” then a better job needs to be done in educating voters.
Finally, after careful review, LWV WI has sent the Assembly Campaigns & Elections Committee a statement about the proposed changes to handling absentee ballots in our state in Assembly Bill 637 and Senate Bill 524. Rather than go through the details here, we will share the letter with WEC staff, but ultimately we hope the bill will not be approved in its current form and urge that it be amended to address all of the issues we and others have identified.
LWV WI Memo on Ballot Design