February 10, 2016

GAB ready for any voter ID surprises

If the state’s controversial voter ID law is put back in place before November, Wisconsin election officials say they’re ready to help election officials and the public prepare.

The law has been on hold since earlier this year, after judges in two separate lawsuits ruled it was unconstitutional. The attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to intervene in the cases, which are currently before an appeals court, and restore the requirement for the November elections. If that happens, state Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy says the agency will move quickly to get the word out.

Kennedy says public service announcements and educational materials have already been produced. He says they can be back on the air and available on the agency’s website quickly, if a decision comes in the last six weeks before the election.

There are some potential issues when it comes to absentee ballots, which are already being sent out to some voters for the November 6th election. Kennedy says that could create some extra hurdles for US-based voters and it could become a closely watched factor if any races in the state hinge on those votes. However, active duty military and overseas voters are exempt from the ID requirement, so it should have little impact on those ballots.

The law was in effect for elections in February before the courts put it on hold. Kennedy says clerks have already received extensive training. While he says they “don’t just flip a switch,” the GAB does have all of the needed resources ready to go.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:14)

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