Wisconsin

Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Elections agency asks for nearly half a million dollars for voter ID | Wisconsin State Journal

Saying “there is very little time left to reach out to the public,” the head of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced Tuesday that he is asking the Legislature for nearly half a million dollars for a statewide campaign to notify voters that they must present a photo identification to vote Nov. 4. Kevin Kennedy, director of the state’s elections agency, said the money is needed to alert voters to the voter ID law, which a federal appeals court reinstated on Sept. 12. Read More

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Wisconsin: State will enact voter ID law denounced as ‘recipe for chaos’ | The Guardian

A controversial voter ID law in Wisconsin, which critics fear will disenfranchise thousands of voters in the November midterm elections, must be implemented after a federal appeals court turned down a request to re-hear a legal challenge. The seventh circuit court of appeals in Chicago declined to take up the application to hear the challenge before its full panel of judges. On 12 September, three judges stayed an injunction issued by a district court that had prevented the law’s implementation. With less than six weeks to go until the 4 November midterms, voter-rights advocates fear chaos as people rush to get the required identification, and confusion at the polls as election workers and voters struggle with the new rules. Previous testimony in the case indicated that about 300,000 people who had previously been eligible to vote will have difficulty obtaining the identification now needed to cast their ballots. The plaintiffs in the voter ID cases include Ruthelle Frank, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and the Advancement Project. Read More

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Wisconsin: Federal appeals court rejects request to rehear challenge to voter ID case | Associated Press

The full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday it will not rehear its decision allowing Wisconsin’s voter identification law to be implemented for the Nov. 4 election. The court said in a seven-sentence order that it was equally divided on whether to take up a request to reconsider a Sept. 12 decision allowing for the law to go forward while it considers the merits of the case. That means the 10-judge panel was one vote short of reconsidering the earlier decision, as requested by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project. The groups argued that implementing voter ID so close to the election will create chaos at the polls, undermining election integrity and public confidence. Read More

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Wisconsin: Attorneys urge federal appeals court to leave voter ID decision alone | Associated Press

A federal appeals court should leave its decision allowing Wisconsin election officials to implement the state’s voter photo identification law alone, state Department of Justice attorneys argued Tuesday. Changing course now, this close to the election and with preparations already underway to implement the law, would confuse election officials and voters, the attorneys wrote in a court filing in response to a request that the court reconsider its decision. The attorneys also argued that the vast majority of voters already have the proper ID. ”Plaintiffs are asking this Court to pinball state and local election officials between enforcing and not enforcing the law with an election on the horizon,” they wrote in their brief. “Voters would get the pinball treatment, too.” Read More

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Wisconsin: Dane County judge refuses Supreme Court order on voter ID | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

In an unusual move, a Dane County judge has refused to dismiss a voter ID case as ordered by the state Supreme Court, writing that he believed doing so would violate his oath to uphold the state constitution. Instead of entering an order to terminate the case, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess wrote in a brief order Thursday that he was instead stepping aside and having another judge dismiss the case. ”The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered this court to deliver the coup de grace to this case by dismissing plaintiff’s Amended Complaint on remand. However, doing so would violate my oath to ‘support … the constitution of the State of Wisconsin,’” Niess wrote, quoting from the oath that judges must take under state law. “Accordingly, I recuse.” Niess did not return a call Tuesday. The case has been reassigned to Judge Ellen Berz, who has not yet acted on the case. Read More

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Wisconsin: Federal Court Declines to Take Up Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law | New York Times

With a competitive election for governor of Wisconsin less than six weeks away, a federal appeals court on Friday narrowly decided against hearing arguments on a recently instituted photo identification requirement for the state’s voters. In an order that evenly split the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit here, the judges turned down pleas for a hearing by the full court from people who argue that the requirement has created confusion and chaos. The decision came about a month before in-person early voting begins and after some in Wisconsin may have mailed in absentee ballots. The matter could ultimately wind up before the United States Supreme Court, and the Wisconsin case is seen as noteworthy among the numerous legal fights playing out around the country over voting regulations. Many of the regulations have been introduced in the last four years in states with Republican-dominated governments, like Wisconsin.
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Wisconsin: Judge dismisses GOP lawsuit asking that the new model ballot be redesigned before election | Associated Press

A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to force a redesign of Wisconsin ballots just six weeks before the Nov. 4 election, saying the complaint first should have been filed with the state elections board. Republican legislative leaders argued in the lawsuit filed last week that the model ballot is confusing, gives undue prominence to Democratic candidates and makes it hard to tell which office candidates are seeking. They asked a judge to force the Government Accountability Board to redesign the ballots, a move that elections officials dismissed as costly and not practical so close to the election. Read More

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Wisconsin: Election officials ask judge to toss suit over ballot design | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

State election officials asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit over the design of the Nov. 4 ballots, saying the campaigns of two Republican lawmakers did not follow proper procedures in bringing their court challenge. Even if the case is allowed to proceed, the election officials argued, the judge can consider changing the ballots in just four places — Racine, Walworth, Columbia and Jefferson counties. Those who brought the suit can’t argue over the ballots in the state’s 68 other counties because they either don’t represent them or the ballots in those counties don’t include the features that are the subject of their suit, they said. The filing came a day before Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer is to hold a hearing to consider whether to order election officials to make changes to the ballots six weeks before the election. The campaigns of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) last week filed their suit contending ballots designed by the state Government Accountability Board are confusing. Ballots’ formats vary by county, but if successful, the suit could result in ballots in some areas being redesigned and reprinted. Read More

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Wisconsin: Voter ID law ruling threatens chaos on election day | The Guardian

Election officials and civil liberties advocates are predicting that a surprise court ruling that lifted a stay on Wisconsin’s controversial voter-ID law will produce chaos on election day, as estimates suggest that up to 300,000 eligible voters may not have the documentation now required to vote. With only six weeks to go before the general election – including a hotly contested gubernatorial campaign – activists say there is little chance that identification papers can be issued in time to all those who lack them. Thousands of absentee ballots had already been mailed before the ruling on September 12, without any reference to the voter ID requirement. Neil Albrecht, the election commissioner for the City of Milwaukee, where more than 280,000 people voted in the 2012 election, told that Guardian that the limited time in which to implement the law would result in confusion on election day since many voters would likely turn up without the required ID. “When voters struggle, that slows down the operation of a polling place so that it can become very bottle-necked.” Albrecht said that he would be hiring 300 to 400 more poll workers to deal with the expected slowdowns. Read More

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Wisconsin: Three Democratic county clerks won’t use GAB sample ballot | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Clerks around Wisconsin from both parties have modified the state’s model ballots for the Nov. 4 elections, raising questions about both the state officials who designed the ballots and about a GOP lawsuit aimed at forcing a costly reprinting of ballots. Clerks from both parties, including at least three Democrats, have found the model ballots confusing, showing that the concerns over them aren’t limited to the Republicans who have sued over the issue. Checks by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday found that most of the state’s urban areas will be using ballots that are more clearly marked for voters than the Government Accountability Board’s model ballot. The biggest exception is in Wausau. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said Friday he had refused to use the ballot that state elections officials had recommended for this fall out of concerns that it was too confusing. Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said she had similar concerns that the ballot put forward by the accountability board didn’t clearly distinguish for voters between the candidates on the ballot and the offices they were seeking. And La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said she added shading to the ballots to make them clearer. ”We try to make the ballot as accessible and easy to read, and that’s why I put the shading in,” she said. Read More

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