Wisconsin

Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Elections board director defends work, structure, amid calls for overhaul | Associated Press

The nonpartisan makeup of the state board that oversees elections, ethics and campaign finance laws in Wisconsin is its greatest strength, its director said at a meeting Tuesday amid calls from Republicans who control the Legislature that an overhaul is needed. Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy defended the nonpartisan structure of the panel, as well as having it oversee elections, lobbying, ethics and campaign finance laws. Republicans are talking about breaking up the board, replacing the judges who are on it with partisan appointees, and other changes. Debate over what to do with the 7-year-old board is in the spotlight following an audit released Friday that detailed a number of problems with its operation, but did not recommend dismantling it or moving toward a partisan structure. Read More


Wisconsin: Republicans seize on audit critical of state elections board | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A report of the state’s ethics and elections agency released Friday found officials waited years in some cases to review whether felons had voted and did not promptly audit electronic voting equipment. The Government Accountability Board also avoided imposing late fees on candidates and political groups that hadn’t file their campaign finance reports on time. Republicans who control the Legislature pounced on the report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, saying it provided evidence the accountability board needs to be dismantled. … The board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, said his agency had many successes but had fallen behind on some matters because its resources have been strained in recent years by a wave of recall elections; implementing a voter ID law that has been sidelined by courts; conducting the first statewide recount in more than 20 years; administering newly drawn legislative districts; and responding to litigation on such matters. Read More

Wisconsin: Vos’ attacks on elections, ethics watchdog draw fire | Green Bay Press Gazette

No one in Wisconsin has been more forceful in demanding changes to the state’s Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, campaign finance, ethics and lobbying, than Robin Vos. The Republican Assembly Speaker has deemed the GAB “dysfunctional” and called its director and general counsel, Kevin Kennedy, an “embarrassment” who “needs to be gone.” His critique has been long on vitriol but short on specifics. Vos likes that the board, which the Legislature created in 2007, is led by six former judges appointed by the governor to staggered six-year terms. But he feels these judges are being manipulated by Kennedy and other staff into serving as “a rubber stamp.” ”The GAB judges are not in charge, and that has to change,” Vos said recently. Kennedy, noting in an interview that the board has at times overruled staff, is not aware of any board support for legislative intervention. He considers Vos’ comments “an insult to the board members.” The judges seem inclined to agree. Read More

Wisconsin: Voters getting confusing, misleading messages about election | Wisconsin Gazette

Wisconsin residents are receiving confusing messages by phone and in the mail about the election, according to the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. The organization said that just last week some people received a Wisconsin voter registration form in the mail with their name and address already filled in. They were told to mail the form in to their municipal clerk, even though it was already too late for mailed registrations to be processed. Other people have reported receiving robocalls telling them to bring a photo ID to vote. This happened after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the voter ID law would not be implemented in this election.  Read More

Wisconsin: State high court: no reason to reconsider its voter ID ruling | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The state Supreme Court won’t reconsider its ruling last summer upholding the state’s requirement that voters show photo ID at the polls. The brief order issued this week by Wisconsin’s highest court denied a request by minority groups to block the voter ID law. Despite that ruling, the requirement won’t be in effect for the Nov. 4 election. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order earlier this month temporarily blocking the law while lawsuits against it wind through the federal courts. After that setback from the high federal court, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said last week that he was giving up on his efforts to reinstate the law ahead of the upcoming election. Voters need a score card to track the dizzying rounds of litigation against the law and the dramatic reversals in those cases over the past two years. The request denied Wednesday by the seven-person state Supreme Court was made by two local minority groups who say the law violates their constitutional right to vote. Read More

Wisconsin: On-again, off-again voter ID law is off | Pioneer Press

Wisconsin’s on-again, off-again voter ID law has been put on hold for the fall election, leaving local election officials to make adjustments less than a month before voters go to the polls. Election workers were being trained for the ID requirement, forms were being changed and plans were in place tell voters to bring an ID following a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in September that validated the law. But another order, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9, blocked the voter ID law from being implemented for the Nov. 4 election. ”It’s a roller coaster, I’ll say that,” said St. Croix County Clerk Cindy Campbell. Plans were in place in the city of River Falls to send letters to residents telling them to bring an ID to the polls, but “luckily (they) didn’t go out before the reversal,” said City Clerk Lu Ann Hecht. Her office also had made signs informing people about the law, as had the clerk’s office in Polk County. ”I printed them the day before the (Supreme Court) ruling came down,” said Polk County Clerk Carole Wondra. “So, I’m just sitting on them now.” Local clerks are now working to get out the opposite message: IDs won’t be required at the polls. Read More

Wisconsin: Long term fate of Wisconsin voter ID law up in air | Wisconsin Radio Network

Following a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to block its implementation, voters are not required to show a photo ID to cast a ballot in Wisconsin, but that could change after November. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) criticizes the GOP for trying to make it harder for people to vote. “The Republicans, the last two sessions, have passed restriction after restriction and impediment after impediment to make it harder for people to vote.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that executing Wisconsin’s voter ID law would cause too much confusion this close to Election Day. The high court did not rule on the merits of the law, however. That means photo ID could be implemented after the fall elections. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is confident it will. He calls this move a “temporary delay.” Read More

Wisconsin: Appeals court dissenters blister state’s voter I.D. law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Just 14 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election, five appeals court judges Friday issued a blistering opinion calling allegations of voter impersonation fraud “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government. Some of the ‘evidence’ of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the ‘True the Vote’ movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places,” wrote Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Posner, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was joined by four others in his dissenting opinion. The five other judges on the court did not spell out their views on the ID requirement. The latest ruling had no immediate practical effect, and the voter ID law remains blocked for the election. Read More

Wisconsin: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law late Thursday, issuing a terse yet dramatic one-page ruling less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election. The 6-3 vote means in all likelihood the requirement to show ID at the polls will not be in effect for the election. But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would seek ways to reinstate the law within the month. Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans approved the law in 2011, but it was quickly blocked by a series of court decisions in four lawsuits. It was reinstated by a federal appeals court in recent weeks, but Thursday’s ruling again put the law on hold. ”That is great news, wonderful news,” Milwaukee NAACP chapter President James Hall said. “I think it’s gratifying that the court has seen fit to block the implementation of this law that would most certainly create chaos and confusion in this election.” Read More

Wisconsin: Opponents again ask for relief from voter ID requirement | Wisconsin State Journal

The fate of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, set to take effect in one month, is pending before two federal courts, both of which have been asked to issue an emergency order halting implementation of the law. Meanwhile, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to leave the law in place for the Nov. 4 election , when voters will select Wisconsin’s next governor. On Tuesday, one day after a three-judge appeals court panel affirmed that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is constitutional, opponents including the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop implementation of the requirement that residents show a state-issued identification or other photo ID before voting. Read More