GAB: ‘Extraordinary efforts’ underway to put voter ID in place

ACLU challenges law, asks for re-hearing
GAB: ‘Extraordinary efforts’ underway to put voter ID in place

The state’s elections board said they’re taking “extraordinary efforts” to put voter ID in place by the November election.

Despite those efforts, a group challenging the law is asking for a re-hearing.

The American Civil Liberties Union is filing for an en banc review in the voter ID case, which was heard by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week. A three-judge panel heard the matter and the ACLU is requesting the full court, or more than 10 judges, hold a new hearing and rule on the law, saying that thousands of people could be disenfranchised by a quick implementation before the November election.

While that is ongoing, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is in the midst of a ramped-up effort to be ready to implement the law in just 49 days.

“Implementing the photo voter ID law close to an election will not be easy,” GAB Executive Director Kevin Kennedy said. “But the GAB and Wisconsin clerks are up to the challenge.”

In a news conference Tuesday, Kennedy said they’re using webinars and Internet communications to help train and prepare local election officials. While legal challenges of the law continue, Kennedy said they’ve been working behind the scenes to be ready and they will follow court orders.

“We weren’t unprepared for this,” Kennedy said. “If the court changes the rules by rescinding the requirement for those we’ll address that as well.”

Voter ID was only in effect for one primary election in the spring of 2012. Kennedy said they’re updating printed materials from then and will be posting new education materials to their website.

“We expect there will be a lot of attention paid to this,” Kennedy said. “We are going to have a very engaged set of local election officials, and the attention being paid to photo ID should add to the engagement for voters for the Nov. 4 election.”

There’s also the matter of nearly 12,000 absentee ballots sent out, and hundreds of votes returned without photo ID instructions.

GAB officials said clerks will have to contact all of those voters and require them to resubmit proof of ID before those votes will be counted.