While many elections officials across the country are concerned about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to stay afloat because of the impact it may have on vote-by-mail and absentee voting, elections officials in Wisconsin are faced with another dilemma from the slow death of the mail. No one mails anything anymore — including identifying documents like utility bills. Faced with a growing number of people who receive and pay their bills exclusively online, recently, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board ruled that residents wishing to register to vote at the polls on election day may provide a poll worker with an electronic proof-of-residency via their smartphone. “I can’t see the difference between being shown a screen with an identifying document or being shown a piece of paper,”said Judge Thomas Cane, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I think we’ve got to bring ourselves up to date.” Staff of the GAB recommended that the board not implement the use of electronic documents, but it wasn’t because they disagree with the practice, it was all about timing. “The staff supported the concept because there is no difference in the information that must be presented or recorded,” explained Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB. “However, we wanted to get enough input from local election officials before instituting the change. “
Kennedy noted that while the change was being proposed more than two months before the November election, state and local elections officials as well as the public have been faced with a multitude of new elections laws in addition to 15 recalls within the past 18 months and there were simply concerns about one more new thing to face come November 6. “That is a lot of change to absorb in a year and a half…” Kennedy said. “We also wanted to ensure that we understood and addressed all practical aspects of such a change, including any questions that poll workers might have about the new directive and the process of reviewing and accepting electronic proof of residence.”
Ultimately what the board determined is that an elector who is required to show proof of residence to support election-day registration may provide that information by presenting the required information to a poll worker by displaying the information on a smart phone, tablet or other computer screen—voters must provide their own electronic device, polling places will not have computers/tablets they can use.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.