MADISON – The ninth Election Observation report from League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s nationally recognized Election Observation Program is released for public review today with key findings and recommendations compiled from the April 3rd Election regarding election administration, voter experiences at the polls, and voting laws for registration and photo ID requirements.
The League placed 85 volunteer election observers in 141 polling sites across Wisconsin in an effort to understand how current election laws and polling site procedures impact voters around the state.
Observers were trained to witness and report on the application of voting laws including those for photo ID, registration, and administering provisional ballots. Observers also recorded details about polling site management as well as the knowledge of election officials. The report finds that inconsistencies in the application of polling site procedures and laws influence the voter experience, and at times determine whether or not a voter casts a ballot. The report includes examples of observations of both unfavorable and best practices administered at polling sites.
The report shows there remains a substantial need for both voter education and training of election officials as to what are acceptable proofs of residence for registration and photo IDs for voting. The misunderstood requirements continue to cause confusion and when election officials misapply the laws, eligible citizens are prevented from voting.
“The majority of voters in April had no problems voting, and this is the experience all voters should have. However, this report reveals that voters are turned away at the polls because of narrowly defined acceptable documents for registration and forms of photo ID. What this report cannot quantify is the number of voters who may have found the requirements for registration or photo ID confusing and never even attempted to vote,” said Erin Grunze, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
Additionally, this report includes information from the observation of electronic poll books, first tested by the Wisconsin Election Commission during this Election, as well as observations regarding the supplemental ERIC poll list created to protect voters who had been deactivated in error from the poll list during routine maintenance of the list. The report contains specific examples of good polling site practices, problems voters experienced, and recommendations for improvement.
An executive summary and full report can be found here: https://my.lwv.org/wisconsin/our-action
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for informed and active participation in government. There are 20 local Leagues in Wisconsin. Learn more at www.lwvwi.org