LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF WISCONSIN and WISCONSIN ELECTION PROTECTION RELEASE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTION REPORT
January 24, 2019
MADISON, WI – The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) and Wisconsin Election Protection publicly released today the Wisconsin Election Protection 2018 Midterm Election Report. The report compiles a detailed analysis of LWVWI volunteer observers findings and activities described to Wisconsin Election Protection from voters and the Milwaukee Area Labor Council roving poll watchers during the November 6th Election. Both best practices and examples of practices which could be improved at polling locations are emphasized in the report. The groups make several recommendations to address the problems cited in the report.
“The League trained and placed 278 volunteer observers in 497 polling sites across the state for the November Election. The LWVWI election observers play an important role in documenting what actually happens on Election Day, so we can see what the voter experience is like in Wisconsin. Their observations are instrumental in making informed recommendations to improve Wisconsin’s elections and ensure all eligible voters are able to cast their vote,” said Eileen Newcomer, LWVWI’s Voter Education Coordinator.
Jay Reinke, AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison, commented, “The Milwaukee Area Labor Council, in partnership with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist, Milwaukee Chapter, trained and provided roving poll watchers throughout the city of Milwaukee. We were pleased overall with the way the election ran, and want to thank our community for its patience when having to wait in lines to either register or vote. We look forward to continuing to monitor and improve future elections.”
While the November 2018 midterm election had increased numbers of voters participating as compared to other recent midterm elections, there is still room for improving elections in Wisconsin and encouraging greater voter engagement.
“In general, we were pleased with how things went on Election Day,” added Karyn Rotker, a member of the Wisconsin Election Protection Legal Coordinating Committee “That being said, there are a few common areas that need some attention like understanding proof or residence and photo ID requirements, ensuring provisional ballots are offered to all registered voters not meeting the photo ID requirement, and ensuring polling places are accessible to all voters.”
The report contains specific examples of difficulties voters experienced as well as problems election officials faced on Election Day. The report concludes with recommendations for improving elections and voter participation including better voter education, more election official training, maintaining Election Day registration, and more access to acceptable forms of proof of residence documentation and photo IDs.
Wisconsin Election Protection and LWVWI look forward to sharing the report and recommendations with clerks and the Wisconsin Elections Commission for further review and discussion for how to make improvements in advance of the 2020 Elections.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is a nonpartisan political organization that advocates for informed and active participation in government. There are 20 local Leagues throughout Wisconsin. More information at lwvwi.org.
Wisconsin Election Protection is a state affiliate of the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition which was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. We include the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, and Voces de la Frontera.