With all of her necessary documentation, University of Wisconsin-Madison student Brooke Evans arrived at her polling place on Nov. 8, 2016, for the presidential election. For her, voting that day meant not only casting a ballot for the first female presidential candidate with a real shot of winning, but having a voice in a society in which homeless people such as herself were marginalized. The law requires Wisconsin residents to present certain forms of photo identification to vote but does not require that the ID have the voter’s current address. Such voters must provide proof of their current address — and that is where Evans ran into trouble. She eventually was able to cast a ballot using a campus address she herself had advocated for to help homeless students. Not only did Evans, as a college student, face increased obstacles under the voter ID law, her homelessness was another barrier — one that almost prevented her from exercising a fundamental right of citizenship. “I was just really surprised at the hassle I was given,” Evans said.Full Article: Studies find that photo ID is tied to lower turnout in Wisconsin | News | wisconsingazette.com.
Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin: 21,000 Milwaukee residents will get their voter registrations reinstated before the election | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
About 21,000 Milwaukee residents who were cut from the voter rolls last year will regain their voter registration before the Nov. 6 election. The state Elections Commission on Tuesday unanimously agreed to allow local clerks to reinstate the voter registration for thousands of people who were taken off the voter rolls last year. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he planned to reinstate the registrations of about 21,000 people. The Milwaukee Elections Commission will work with the state agency on the issue. “These are people who never should have been dropped from the rolls in the first place,” Barrett said.Full Article: 21,000 Milwaukee voters will go back on the rolls.
Wisconsin: Adams County clerk resigns following investigation into unauthorized computer access | WKOW
A meeting to hear charges against Cindy Phillippi was scheduled for Wednesday morning. But the hearing was canceled after Phillippi, through her attorney, submitted a 5-page resignation agreement to the Adams County Board during a closed door session Tuesday night. The resignation is effective Wednesday. The agreement does not include an admission of liability. Phillippi will be on paid leave through the end of the year. Board Chair John West said she will continue to provide consultation during the transition period.Full Article: Adams County clerk resigns following investigation into unauthorized computer access - WKOW.
With less than two months until the November election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission has hired several new staff members to help with election security. The federal government awarded the commission nearly $7 million in grants for election security. “We’re using a significant amount of that money on hiring new people, as well as for system enhancements for security,” said Reid Magney, public information officer for the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The elections commission will hold a meeting on Aug. 25 to ask clerks and members of the public how they should spend the rest of the grant money.Full Article: Wisconsin Elections Commission hires new staff aimed at increasing elections security - WISC.
Wisconsin: How Hackers Could Attack Wisconsin’s Elections And What State Officials Are Doing About It | Wisconsin Public Radio
A private vendor inadvertently introduces malware into voting machines he is servicing. A hacker hijacks the cellular modem used to transmit unofficial Election Day results. An email address is compromised, giving bad actors the same access to voting software as a local elections official. These are some of the potential vulnerabilities of Wisconsin’s election system described by cybersecurity experts. State officials insist they are on top of the problem and that Wisconsin’s elections infrastructure is secure because, among other safeguards, voting machines are not connected to the internet and each vote is backed by a paper ballot to verify results. In July, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Russian hackers have targeted websites of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the state Department of Workforce Development and municipalities including Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn. Elections in this swing state are administered by 1,853 municipal clerks, 72 county clerks and the Wisconsin Elections Commission.Full Article: How Hackers Could Attack Wisconsin’s Elections And What State Officials Are Doing About It | Wisconsin Public Radio.
Wisconsin: State tries to avoid voter data breach that happened in Illinois | Milwaukee Journal Sentinal
Wisconsin officials say they have taken multiple steps in recent months to guard against the type of attack that Russian hackers unleashed on Illinois when they allegedly stole data from hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters before the 2016 election. But the August rollout of vote tallying through the WisVote system — in which clerks inadvertently reported duplicate votes in nine counties — shows more work needs to be done. In 2016, cyber actors gained access to 200,000 voter records in Illinois, according to an April report from FireEye, a California-based cybersecurity firm.Full Article: Wisconsin tries to avoid voter data breach that happened in Illinois.
Wisconsin: Stolen Votes: Understanding the real cybersecurity threats to Wisconsin elections | The Milwaukee Independent
A private vendor inadvertently introduces malware into voting machines he is servicing. A hacker hijacks the cellular modem used to transmit unofficial Election Day results. An email address is compromised, giving bad actors the same access to voting software as a local elections official. These are some of the potential vulnerabilities of Wisconsin’s election system described by cybersecurity experts. State officials insist they are on top of the problem and that Wisconsin’s elections infrastructure is secure because, among other safeguards, voting machines are not connected to the internet and each vote is backed by a paper ballot to verify results. In July, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Russian hackers have targeted websites of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the state Department of Workforce Development and municipalities including Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn. Elections in this swing state are administered by 1,853 municipal clerks, 72 county clerks and the Wisconsin Elections Commission.Full Article: Stolen Votes: Understanding the real cybersecurity threats to Wisconsin elections | The Milwaukee Independent.
Wisconsin: Democrats revive gerrymandering lawsuit to block election maps in 2020 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Democrats renewed their gerrymandering fight Friday with a pair of lawsuits over election maps that have helped Republicans maintain big margins in the state Assembly. An expanded group of Democratic voters filed a new version of their long-running lawsuit on Friday, three months after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring an earlier version of their suit. Just hours later, the campaign operation for the Democratic members of the Assembly filed a separate suit. The group asked to consolidate its case with the other one. The new filings, submitted to a three-judge court in Madison, were aimed at addressing legal flaws identified by the high court and giving the Democrats a chance to challenge the maps for all 99 of the state’s Assembly seats.Full Article: Democrats revive gerrymandering lawsuit to block election maps in 2020.
A new national report from election and hacking experts is calling for states to make some changes before the 2020 presidential election. The report, which was written by a panel of experts on computer science and election administration, recommends states use paper ballots, whether they are counted by hand or machine, because they can’t be tampered with online and can be re-counted if necessary. It also recommends increasing state funding for election administration, including training for workers. Kevin Kennedy, the former director of Wisconsin’s elections agency, served on the committee that wrote the report. He noted Wisconsin already uses paper ballots, which were used in the 2016 presidential recount, but he believes the state hasn’t funneled enough money into training for election workers. “They’ve always been behind the eight ball on that,” Kennedy said. “They could always use more funding.”Full Article: Election Experts Recommend Paper Ballots For 2020 Election | Wisconsin Public Radio.
The League of Women Voters of Dane County hosted a forum Wednesday on protecting Wisconsin’s elections amid questions surrounding foreign influence in the 2016 presidential election. Panelists included University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism managing editor and co-founder Dee Hall and Richard Rydecki from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. While the panelists agreed that Wisconsin elections are vulnerable to security threats, they disagreed on what could cause significant errors.Full Article: Experts discuss vulnerabilities in Wisconsin elections · The Badger Herald.
Tuesday is primary election day in Wisconsin. With races for governor, U.S. Senate and other offices, turnout is expected to be the highest since the presidential election in November 2016. Donald Trump’s win in that election spurred a lot of national concern over election tampering. While some voters still aren’t sure the system is secure, Wisconsin officials say the public shouldn’t be worried about ballot security. After early voting last week at the Zeidler Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee, Anthony Brown said he considers hacking of voting machines a legitimate threat. “Anything that somebody can access from the other side of the world — I mean anywhere — any computer-oriented person can dictate what’s going on inside of that machine,” Brown said.Full Article: Voters Worry About Ballot Security, Officials Say All's Well | WUWM.
Wisconsin: Activists push Wisconsin to audit voting machines in advance of 2018 midterms | Daily Dot
As reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election (and continued potential interference in American election matters) keep bubbling up, Wisconsin, a key swing state, has learned its voting machines appear to be vulnerable to hacking. Five elections experts told the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism that the state’s voting systems are able to be hacked, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports. According to the report, our increasingly “modern” voting systems are subject to a variety of issues that can affect election outcomes. While outside hacking is one possibility, human error, dust bunnies on the machines’ optical scanners, and other issues are commonplace. A number of activists are pushing for more stringent election audits in order to ensure that votes are counted accurately and reflect voters’ choices.Full Article: Swing State Wisconsin's Voting Machines Vulnerable To Hacking.
Visiting Wisconsin on June 28, President Donald Trump tweeted “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our Election!” It was not the first time the president cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 election, contradicting conclusions of the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, as well as reports by bipartisan committees in both chambers of Congress. But Russians have been testing the vulnerability of elections in Wisconsin and other states for years, and top U.S. intelligence officials have warned the 2018 midterm elections are a potential target of Russian cyber attacks and disinformation. A key swing state, Wisconsin was the scene of Russian measures in 2016 that utilized social media and also probed the websites of government agencies.Full Article: Wisconsin election voting systems still vulnerable to hacking.
For Helen Harris, voting is a family tradition. She was born in Louisiana when Jim Crow ruled the day and her parents weren’t legally allowed to vote. Later in life, after her parents moved to Milwaukee, that right was something they treasured. Her mother cast her last vote in the 2012 presidential election at the age of 95. Harris continued her parent’s tradition, voting in every election from school board to governor. But in 2011, a redistricting of Wisconsin’s assembly district lines left her stranded in an affluent, primarily Republican district far removed from her formerly majority Democrat one. “I just don’t feel that the things that I care about and the things that I value are being represented by the people that we have in office now in our district,” she said.Full Article: Residents testify on voter suppression at Milwaukee hearing.
Wisconsin: Collaborative effort to help homeless population register to vote | Wisconsin State Journal
Madison’s homeless resource day center had its first voter registration outreach event Wednesday to increase voter turnout by people who are homeless. The Beacon, which opened in October 2017 at 615 E. Washington Ave., collaborated with the Dane County Board and the League of Women Voters in Dane County to help homeless people learn how to get a voter ID and register in time for the upcoming election. The drive was an opportunity for people to get familiar with the voting process and voter laws they might not be aware of. Wisconsin law requires voters to have a valid Wisconsin state ID or driver’s license. Gail Bliss, who works with the league, said voter ID laws can make it difficult for homeless people to vote.Full Article: Collaborative effort to help homeless population register to vote | Politics and Elections | host.madison.com.
Wisconsin: State, U.S. Department of Justice reach agreement ensuring electronic absentee ballots | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The State of Wisconsin will update its process of sending absentee ballots to overseas voters after reaching a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice Friday. Wisconsin law differentiated between voters who were overseas temporarily and permanently, a distinction that decided how an individual received their absentee ballot. The agreement makes sure that regardless of that distinction, individuals will receive their absentee ballot electronically — either by email or fax. Originally, voters defined as being overseas temporarily were manually mailed a ballot.Full Article: Wisconsin, feds reach agreement ensuring electronic absentee ballots.
Wisconsin: Democrats seek to bring case back to Supreme Court before 2020 elections | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin Republicans are claiming victory with Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to send a lawsuit over the state’s legislative boundaries back to a lower court without addressing whether the map is constitutionally drawn. But Democrats say the ruling doesn’t put the legal fight to bed as Republicans suggest, and vow to clear any hurdle to get the nation’s highest court to answer the question of whether Wisconsin’s districts are so partisan that they violate the Constitution before the next round of map drawing.Full Article: Democrats seek to bring case back to Supreme Court before 2020 elections.
The Wisconsin legislative map at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court’s closely watched redistricting case is a stark example of how district lines can be drawn to keep one party in power in a very purple state no matter how it is faring at the ballot box. In good times and bad, Wisconsin Republicans have enjoyed a virtual lock on the 99-seat state Assembly, thanks to the map they drew in 2011. Their control of the Legislature is essentially baked in before voters go to the polls to pick their representatives. How tilted is the map? Here is one way to measure it: Take the top-of-the-ticket statewide election results (for governor or president) as a measure of how many people are supporting each party in a given year. Then see how those voters are distributed across the state’s 99 Assembly districts to find out how many seats favor each party.Full Article: Wisconsin gerrymandering case: Very 'red' map in 'purple' Wisconsin.
Wisconsin: Appeals court yet to rule on voter ID, election laws after 16 months | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
More than a year after hearing arguments, a federal appeals court has yet to rule on a host of Wisconsin voting laws, including aspects of the state’s voter ID statute. The long delay has left some scratching their heads and raised questions about whether the court will act before this year’s elections, including the fast-approaching Aug. 14 primary. “It is rare but not unprecedented for a case to take this long,” said Joshua Douglas, a University of Kentucky College of Law professor. “I do think it’s very weird and I’m very surprised it has taken this long.” What’s at issue has only grown more complicated. In one recent development, the state sued a voting rights group to try to prevent it from contacting voters who have had difficulty getting free state IDs. Litigation over the voter ID law has been going on since shortly after the measure was approved seven years ago. The law has largely been upheld, but courts have modified parts of it to make it easier for people who don’t have birth certificates to get free IDs.Full Article: Appeals court yet to rule on voter ID, election laws after 16 months.
Wisconsin Elections Commission staff plan to hire a half-dozen new employees and upgrade software to bolster election security. The commission received a $7 million federal grant in March to upgrade security after Russian actors tried to access a state Department of Workforce Development system before the 2016 election. Staff told the commission Thursday that the Department of Administration has approved hiring six new four-year security positions, including an information technology project manager, an elections security trainer and a voting systems specialist.