The state elections board voted Tuesday to ask lawmakers for a quarter of a million dollars to revive its efforts to educate people about photo identification requirements at the polls ahead of the fall election season. The Government Accountability Board mothballed its voter ID outreach campaign in 2012 after a court challenge blocked the requirement. A federal appellate court ultimately upheld the law in 2014 and it was in effect for both this past February’s primary and the April 6 general election, which included the presidential primary. Democrats feared the voter ID law would prevent some people from voting, but the turnout was 47 percent in the April election, the highest since 1972. GAB officials have said things went smoothly for the most part, although some voters faced long lines and difficulties trying to obtain valid IDs, particularly college students. Most college IDs aren’t acceptable under the law, so University of Wisconsin schools provided students with free secondary IDs for voting.
Wisconsin: Outgoing State Elections Director Outlines Next Steps in Transition to New Agencies | WUWM
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.