Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Good government group slams vote to allow ethics commission to make political donations | Capital Times

A good government group is decrying the decision made Tuesday by members of Wisconsin’s new ethics commission to opt not to ban themselves from donating to political campaigns. “Just how stupid do they think Wisconsinites are?” asked Common Cause in Wisconsin director Jay Heck, who blasted the members of the commission who voted against considering a proposal to ban themselves from making political contributions. Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board was replaced this summer with two separate commissions charged with overseeing elections, ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules in the state. Commissioners on each board are partisan appointees, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  Read More

Wisconsin: Ethics Commission members can make political donations to those they regulate | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin’s newly created commission charged with overseeing the state’s ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws voted Tuesday to allow its six partisan appointees to continue making donations to the very candidates they are regulating, rejecting a proposal to ban such giving. State law allows members of the Ethics Commission to give to partisan candidates, and the three Democrats and three Republicans on the panel have donated in the past. Two commissioners who wanted a ban on such donations said continuing to give money would look bad. They were outvoted, 4-2, by commissioners who said their votes would not be swayed based on political donations they’ve made. “I don’t want to be limited in giving contributions,” said Milwaukee attorney David Halbrooks, a Democrat. “I don’t think it will ever affect my analysis.” Read More

Wisconsin: Court’s Ruling in Wisconsin Seen as Victory for Voting Rights | The New York Times

A federal appeals court panel refused on Monday to delay a lower court ruling that outlawed a sheaf of restrictions on voting in Wisconsin, enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. The decision, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was seen as a significant victory for voting rights advocates. The ruling makes it likely that November’s state and federal balloting will follow earlier rules that allowed expanded early and weekend voting, among other changes. Judge James D. Peterson of Federal District Court had struck down parts of Wisconsin’s 2011 voter ID law and other election laws in July, ruling that the Legislature had crafted them to suppress voting by minorities and other traditionally Democratic constituencies. Read More

Wisconsin: Appeals court allows new early voting hours to remain in place for now | Wisconsin State Journal

Extended early voting scheduled to begin next month in Madison is on for now under a ruling by an appeals court panel issued Monday. A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to put on hold during appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Peterson that overturned several Republican changes to Wisconsin voting law, including one that limited early voting to the weekdays two weeks before an election between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Peterson’s ruling also limited early voting to one location per municipality, upped residency requirements from 10 to 28 days and prohibited the use of expired student IDs for purposes of proving one’s identity. Peterson stayed a different part of his ruling dealing with how the state issues free voter IDs. Read More

Wisconsin: Feingold says campaign infiltrated | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An apparent Republican activist tried to join Democrat Russ Feingold’s team this week in what Feingold’s campaign suspects was a plot to dig up dirt on him. In an interview with Feingold staff on Wednesday, she initially said she wanted to work on issues affecting women’s health care and unions, but clammed up when confronted about whether she had worked for conservatives and tried to infiltrate Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Iowa last year. “I’m not going to be answering any questions, so if you want me to leave, I’ll leave. If you want me to stay, I’ll stay,” she responded, according to an audio recording provided by the Feingold campaign. Told she needed to leave, she responded, “Cool! Well, it was great meeting you.” The woman signed up to be a volunteer as Allison Moss on Tuesday, but was let go Wednesday after the Feingold campaign asked her if she was actually Allison Maass. Read More

Wisconsin: Early voting to start in September | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Voters in the state’s liberal strongholds will be able to start early voting a month before what would have been allowed under a law that was recently struck down. Voters in Milwaukee and Madison may also be able to participate in early voting at multiple sites — a practice that hasn’t been allowed in the past. That would give local officials a chance to set up voting stations on college campuses, rather than requiring people to come to clerks’ offices to cast ballots early. The early voting plans could change, however, because an appeals court is now reviewing a federal judge’s decision that struck down a host of election laws. Madison will begin early voting Sept. 26, the city clerk’s office announced Thursday. The presidential election and other races will be decided Nov. 8. Before the judge’s ruling, early voting was slated to begin around the state Oct. 24, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Read More

Wisconsin: Judge blocks portion of voter ID | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A federal judge late Thursday blocked a portion of his own ruling on the state’s voter ID law, suspending for now a requirement that the state reform the way it deals with people who have the most difficulty getting photo identification. The ruling by Judge James Peterson in Madison is modest and leaves in place the rest of his ruling, which struck down limits on early voting, a requirement that municipalities allow early voting in only one location and other election laws. It’s the second ruling this week affecting the state’s voter ID law leading up to the Nov. 8 presidential election. On Wednesday, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals halted a ruling by a different judge, Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee, that would have allowed people to vote without an ID if they signed a statement at the polls saying they could not easily get one. Both decisions remain under appeal, and further changes to such laws could occur between now and the election. Read More

Wisconsin: Appeals court blocks voter ID changes | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

With the presidential election only three months away, a federal appeals panel Wednesday blocked a lower court ruling that would have allowed Wisconsin voters without photo IDs to sign an affidavit and cast a ballot. But part of the voter ID law remains blocked because of a separate ruling in another federal trial court in recent weeks. Voters should keep following the news — the rules could change again between now and the Nov. 8 presidential election. Last month, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee ruled that Wisconsin voters without photo identification can cast ballots by swearing at the polling place that they could not easily acquire an ID. The decision created a pathway for voters with difficulties getting IDs who have been unable to cast ballots under the state’s 2011 voter ID law. Read More


Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, a controversial voter-ID law could help choose the president | The Washington Post

An appeals court on Wednesday put on hold an earlier ruling that residents without a photo ID could still vote if they attested to their identity in an affidavit, striking a blow to activists concerned that many in Wisconsin will be blocked from voting. Advocates for voting rights have had recent legal ­victories with rulings against ­voting-restriction legislation in North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. A federal ruling last month said Wisconsin residents who had trouble obtaining the necessary identification would still be able to vote with an affidavit. But the appeals court on Wednesday said that state lawyers challenging that ruling were likely to be successful. Wisconsin has battled for years over its voter-ID law, and the latest bout of legal wrangling has left the situation decidedly unclear for voters in November. In a separate case, a district court judge declared unconstitutional several of Wisconsin’s voting rules and ordered reforms to the process by which voters can obtain IDs from the Division of Motor Vehicles. That decision also is being appealed. Read More


Wisconsin: ‘Ballot selfie’ by Paul Ryan primary challenger a (technical) violation of state law | Wisconsin State Journal

With voting underway in Wisconsin’s partisan primary election Tuesday, the Republican primary challenger to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Paul Nehlen, may have broken state law by tweeting a photo of what appeared to be a marked ballot. State law bars any voter from showing “his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot.” The campaign of Nehlen, a Delavan businessman who is challenging Ryan, may have done just that Tuesday. At 3:18 p.m. Tuesday, Nehlen’s campaign Twitter account posted a photo of what appeared to be a completed ballot with the message: “#HireNehlen Save America #WI01.” Because of the law, a spokesman for the state elections commission, Reid Magney, said it discourages voters from posting these so-called “ballot selfies.” Read More