The state Senate on Tuesday adopted four bills tweaking how elections are administered, including measures requiring that poll workers of opposite parties perform certain tasks. Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the author of the bills, said she advanced them to avoid what she considered irregularities and “sloppy” practices in the recount of the 2012 recall election for state senator in Racine County. Democrats contended Republicans were getting carried away in presuming poll workers are allied with political parties or prone to act corruptly. “Obviously, these bills are designed to do one thing — make it more difficult to vote, make it more difficult to be a clerk,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). All Republicans supported the measures and most Democrats opposed them. The measures now go to the Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans.
Under current law, the major political parties can nominate people to serve as poll workers, and their nominees are to be given preference over others. That has little effect in current practice because the parties don’t generally nominate poll workers, according to election officials.
One of Lazich’s bills would require that tasks in polling places that require two or more poll workers be performed by people of differing parties, if the poll workers were nominated by the parties. That measure passed 18-15 along party lines.