Thousands of Racine Voters May Have Been Able to Cast a Recall Ballot by Mistake

MacIver News Service | June 25, 2012 3:24pm

[Racine, Wisc…] Thousands of voters who registered at the polls on recall election day in the City of Racine may not have signed the supplemental poll list as required by law, the MacIver News Service has learned.

Individuals who register as new voters or change their voter registration on election day do not appear on the pre-printed voter rolls maintained by election workers. Those same-day registrants are added to a supplemental poll list, maintained at each polling location across Wisconsin. A space is provided on the Supplemental Poll List for new registrants to sign by their hand-written entry, and by law they are required to do so.

‘They are required to sign the poll list, just like everyone else,” said Michael Haas, Staff Counsel with the GAB told MacIver News Monday morning.

According to the Government Accountability Board’s Election Day Manual for Wisconsin Election Workers,

“Providing the correct ballot to the voter and enabling the elector to mark a ballot privately and independently are two of the most important tasks for election inspectors on Election Day. It is essential that you are familiar with the correct procedure for issuing ballots and facilitating voting.”

The manual explains how the poll list is signed

3. The elector signs the poll list.

a. The elector only signs one poll list.
b. Election inspectors must ensure that all voters are signing the same poll list which is later provided to the county clerk.
c. If another person signed the voter’s registration form because the voter was unable to sign due to disability, the inspector writes the word “Exempt” on the signature line.
d. If voter claims to be unable to sign due to physical disability, and both inspectors concur, the inspectors shall enter the words “exempt by order of inspectors” on the signature line.
e. If both inspectors do not waive the signature requirement, the voter shall be allowed to cast a ballot and the inspector or inspectors who did not waive the requirement shall challenge the ballot and document the situation on the Inspectors’ Statement.

For new voters or those with changes of address, their names are placed on a Supplemental Poll List, which includes a space for the newly-registered voter to sign their name before receiving their ballot.

During a review of same day registrations for just one ward in the City of Racine conducted at the ongoing Senate District 21 recount at the Racine County Courthouse, more than 100 voters failed to sign the supplemental poll list.

More than 4,000 people were added to the supplemental poll lists in the City of Racine on the day of the June 5th recall election.

Sources tell MacIver News that upwards of half of those voters failed to sign the poll list.

The MacIver News Service will have more reaction to this story as it develops.