‘m a Wisconsin poll worker. I’ve come to dread my job. After four years of experience at my busy polling place, I was surprised to find myself dreading Wisconsin’s primary election. Sadly, running elections has grown more daunting with every new voting law passed by the state Legislature, especially the new photo ID requirement and voter registration rules. The April 5 high-turnout election put even more new guidelines in place — added in the two months since the Feb. 16 election. Not surprisingly, both voters and poll workers are confused. That makes my job much harder and far less rewarding. I want voters to have confidence in my knowledge of ever more complex procedures. I want to serve them well so they enjoy exercising their right to vote. I don’t want them to stand in long lines or feel scrutinized as if they are passing through an airport security checkpoint. Most of all, I hate telling students that their student ID is not an approved voter ID. When I inform students of their options, I apologize and say, “Please promise me you’ll get the proper ID and come back. I want you to be able to vote.”
As a last resort, I can tell those voters they can still “vote” by casting a provisional ballot and presenting the city clerk with the proper ID within four days. But what good is a vote if it’s not counted? Of the 123 provisional ballots cast citywide by voters without ID on April 5, only 41 were counted in the end. Voter impersonation is virtually nonexistent — yet, lacking an approved photo ID, familiar voters listed in our poll book are silenced. How can I possibly feel good about that?
On election day, 24,625 voters registered at the 87 polling places in our city. I appreciate Wisconsin’s same-day registration policy, because I love to serve both new voters and regulars who have changed address. I usually spend most of my time assisting long lines at the voter registration table, but I find that task is now more complicated and even troubling.
For instance, I’m very uncomfortable with current requirements for recording a voter’s proof of address. Wisconsin banks and businesses: Do you realize that voter registrars must write down the last few digits of people’s account numbers when they register them to vote? I find this very intrusive and unnecessary, not to mention a complete waste of time. I know you respect your customers’ privacy. I know you would not release information to an official in order to verify a voter’s address without a court order.
Full Article: From the front lines: A Wisconsin poll worker dreads the job.