The ban on election observers using cameras at polling locations may soon be lifted in Wisconsin. That move, which was recommended by the Republican-controlled Legislature, is set to be considered Monday when the state elections board meets to vote on proposed changes to election observer rules. If the Government Accountability Board approves the change, observers might be able to use cameras to photograph and record voters and others at polling places by the Aug. 12 primary, including people getting ballots and registering to vote. Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill allowing observers to get closer to those they are monitoring. The legislation said that observation areas at polling places can be as close as three feet from the tables where voters obtain ballots or register, or from counting locations — rather than the six feet previously required. Observers would need to remain in those areas while filming or taking photographs of voters, and photographing ballots would still be prohibited.
The shift is being considered as part of several changes to election observer rules. It’s just the latest in a series of controversial voting changes pushed by Republicans in recent years, which have included stricter limits to early voting and a voter ID law — currently on hold after a judge found it unconstitutional.
… The GAB staff found most of the proposed changes are administrative and are “not anticipated to create undue burdens on local election officials.” But elections staff members voiced “significant concern” about the request to lift the ban on cameras, according to a memo to board members from Kevin Kennedy, GAB’s director and general counsel.