The state elections board voted Tuesday to ask lawmakers for a quarter of a million dollars to revive its efforts to educate people about photo identification requirements at the polls ahead of the fall election season. The Government Accountability Board mothballed its voter ID outreach campaign in 2012 after a court challenge blocked the requirement. A federal appellate court ultimately upheld the law in 2014 and it was in effect for both this past February’s primary and the April 6 general election, which included the presidential primary. Democrats feared the voter ID law would prevent some people from voting, but the turnout was 47 percent in the April election, the highest since 1972. GAB officials have said things went smoothly for the most part, although some voters faced long lines and difficulties trying to obtain valid IDs, particularly college students. Most college IDs aren’t acceptable under the law, so University of Wisconsin schools provided students with free secondary IDs for voting.
Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Wisconsin League of Women Voters Andrea Kaminski asked the GAB on Tuesday morning to revive the education campaign, saying the law is confusing and convoluted. They argued turnout for the April election could have been even higher if more people understood the ID requirements and that even more people will likely vote in November.
GAB public information officer Reid Magney told the board that radio and TV ads from 2012 could be updated and re-used if the board had money to pay for air time.