Early Voting Students Use Class Schedules to Prove Residency, Not Identity, at Milwaukee Polls

District Does Not Indentify Two MPS Teachers Who Organized Voting Field Trip

[Milwaukee, Wisc…] Last Friday a busload of students from Pulaski High School pulled up to the Zeidler Municipal Building here and more than two dozen students, accompanied by their teachers, voted during the early in-person absentee balloting period, many only using a printout of their class schedule to prove their identity.

The MacIver News Service has confirmed that there was no date of birth listed on the class schedules.

A witness at the Milwaukee Municipal Building on Friday reported seeing about 30 students from Pulaski High School arrived at the polls around 10 am. About 10 or 11 of them used their class schedules to vote.

However, according to the Milwaukee Elections Commission and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, voters do not need to provide proof of age in order to register. All they have to do is check off a box on the registration form certifying that they are a qualified elector, a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old by the time they vote.

“The whole system relies on the honestly and integrity of the individual,” Sue Edmond, Milwaukee’s Election Commission director, told the MacIver News Service. “If we find after the election that they lied, they could be charged with a felony.”

Such after-the-fact findings would not disqualify any votes that were cast, however.

The GAB added that the Help America Vote Act requires it to check new registrations against DOT and Social Security databases to ensure the validity of new electors.

When the Republican Party of Wisconsin learned of the incident, it contacted the GAB. After meeting with GAB officials, party representatives contended that this incident still raises eyebrows. Ben Sparks, RPW’s communications director, told the MacIver News Service that no one would have thought twice about the incident had voter ID laws been in place.

“From our standpoint we respect the law, but again voter ID laws have been upheld by the US Supreme Court, and we don’t think its too much to ask that voters produce IDs at the polls,” he said.

This was the first time Pulaski had bused students to the polls to vote early, but MPS said it is consistent with previous curriculum. Although they admitted two teachers organized the effort, MPS officials did not identify the employees involved in the incident.

“The Pulaski principal tells us that the field trip not been done previously,” said Roseann St.Aubin, MPS Communications Director. “There are various activities used by our teachers to instruct students about voting in Social Studies, Civics or Citizenship classes. They include registration outreach and letting students view the actual polling activity that may be taking place in their schools (many are used as polling locations). Activities are to be completely non-partisan. Students are not told to vote for specific candidates.”

Without knowing the identities of the employees involved it is impossible to determine whether or not they were donors to Republicans or Democrats or if they signed the petition that initiated the current or past rounds of recalls.

Republican Party officials said even though this was the first time Pulaski High School bussed students to the polls, that activity is not unusual around the country. However, RPW is not aware of voting field trips taking place anywhere else in Wisconsin for this election.