As the Wisconsin recall elections kicked off yesterday, voters were greeted with a test run of the new photo ID law. The “soft implementation,” as officials were calling it, was an effort to get voters used to the real photo ID requirements, which will go into effect next year. Everyone who votes in the recall elections this year will be asked to show ID. If you don’t have one, you’ll still be allowed to vote and will be given a flyer on the new requirements and how to meet them.
The Government Accountability Board estimates that educating Wisconsin voters will cost about $750,000, not including the price of the IDs or infrastructure such as increased poll hours and worker training.
In the meantime, it looks like the preemptive ID requests caused delays at the polls and made some worry about the law’s effect once it becomes compulsory in the 2012 Spring Primary.
After a 20 to 40 minute wait, voters were asked to show ID and many seemed confused about the new policy, according to officials. “That’s what’s slowing [the process] down somewhat. People are being asked [for IDs]. That generates questions,” Glendale City Administrator Richard Maslowski said.
The lines backed up when workers took time to explain the new law to primary voters. County clerk Karen Peters predicted long lines and delays for voters next year. “It’s going to be horrendous,” Peters said.
In addition to lamenting the wait, some voters protested the fairness of the law. Kim Garrett of Madison told a reporter that she and others planned to protest the new law by not showing their IDs until they absolutely had to. She said it would turn people off and makes them less likely to vote.
Full Article: Wisconsin’s Soft Launch and Hard Times « Rock the Vote Blog.