Two new groups will begin administering Wisconsin’s elections and ethics laws this new year. Gov. Walker recently signed a bill that will dismantle the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board and replace it with two panels of partisan appointees, an elections commission and an ethics panel, by June 30, 2016. Republican leaders insist the Board was not responsive to their concerns. Outgoing GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says he will assist in the transition “The legislation specifically requires that I facilitate the transition to work with the secretary of administration and to be on call to the legislative oversight committees to provide reports on that process,” he says.
“A lot of the work that will be done is providing recommendations on how to divide personnel, laying out the various back office functions, finance, procurement, budget, IT.”
Kennedy says during the six-month transition, it’ll be business as usual for the GAB. For instance, it will still coordinate the spring elections and enforcing Wisconsin’s Voter ID law. People need to present government-issued identification in order to cast a ballot.
“Voter ID has been in place since last April. We’ve used it for several special elections and it will be in place for the February election and all the elections in 2016,” Kennedy says.