October 30, 2014

Panel talks voting and potential suppression

A newly created state Senate panel takes a wide look at voting in Wisconsin. Senator Jon Erpenbach asked the state’s top election official about steps lawmakers can take in curbing voter intimidation. The Middleton Democrat is concerned about election observers who will challenge “every single thing under the sun,” including voters attempting to register.

Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy says rules specifically state that poll watchers must come up with a legitimate reason to challenge a registration. For example, suspecting the voter is not yet 18 or has already cast a ballot. He says if the observer is acting unruly, a polling place inspector “doing their job” will have that challenger removed.

Kennedy testified at an informational hearing Thursday of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Elections and UW-System. The panel is solely made up Democrats as the minority’s leadership did not appoint Republican members.

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (1:20)