Uncertainty Surrounds Administration of Voter ID Requirement

MacIver News Service | August 30, 2012

[Madison, Wisconsin…] A Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Spokesman disputes an assertion, made by a state representative that the Board inappropriately changed voter registration requirements leading up to the recall elections.

Earlier this month, Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) told the MacIver News Service he had been alerted to a GAB memo changing the procedures for determining if a new voter meets the state’s residency requirements.

“The purpose of the proof of residency document is to establish the voter’s current address, not to prove that the voter complies with the 28 consecutive day residency requirement,” the GAB memo to election workers states. “The voter’s sworn statement on the registration form that they meet the 28-day requirement shall be presumed to be true unless the inspector or a challenger has first-hand knowledge sufficient to question the certification.”

Stone was alarmed by the revelation.

“Nothing in our legislation directed them to do that,” Stone told the MacIver News Service. “Everything in that legislation was intended for people to provide some kind of documentation to prove they can legally vote and this goes in the opposite direction.”

However, Reid Magney, GAB spokesman, disagrees.

“Nowhere in statutes is it required that the proof of residence (POR) document indicate when the elector became a resident of the voting district,” Mageny said. “The POR document proves that the person lives in the district, but the person certifies he or she has lived in the district for 28 consecutive days. This has always been the rule. It was the same when the residency requirement was 10 days, and it’s the rule now.”

Stone sits on the Assembly’s Committee on Election and Campaign Reform. He says his office is currently investigating the validity of the GAB’s claim.