Taylor, Stakeholders Call on GOP to Fund Voter ID Information Campaign
Campaign required as state prepares for 1 million additional voters in November
MADISON – Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), joined by the League of Women Voters, local election officials and community members, called on Republican leadership to release funding to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) for a comprehensive Voter ID informational campaign. Under 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, the Voter ID law, the state was required to fund a comprehensive public information campaign so voters understood the new law and what would be required for them to vote. Because of a variety of injunctions that delayed the implementation of this law designed to suppress voting, this required campaign never occurred.
On April 5th, there were many instances of voters being turned away from the polls because they did not have the correct identification, of confusion as to the required documents and of delays in being able to vote. In the City of Madison, there were 123 provisional ballots cast, with only 41 ultimately being counted. As reported in numerous media accounts, students were particularly impacted, with hours-long lines on several campuses.
Under the Voter ID law, the public informational campaign was supposed to take place in advance of the first regularly schedule primary and election to which the identification requirements applied. Due to litigation, including a March 2012 injunction that prevented the law from going into effect and various other implementation delays, the voter education campaign the GAB originally planned was only briefly implemented.
“This fall, we are expecting at least one million more voters than we did in the Spring Election earlier this month. Given the problems Wisconsinites experienced at the polls on April 5, it is clear that we have much more work to do when it comes to educating the electorate on this newly-implemented law. We need the GAB to request the needed funds and the Legislature to release these funds to the GAB now,” said Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
In addition to the press conference, Rep. Taylor started an online petition at Change.org that the public can sign. She has also written to the GAB encouraging them to again formally request this funding. Rep. Taylor also was the lead author of Assembly Bill 987 which appropriated $500,000 for a Voter ID informational campaign. The bill died at the end of this legislative session.