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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

 3:09 PM 

Clerks, GAB exec dir say few problems, light turnout

Several clerks around the state say they’ve had few problems today with the new voter ID requirement.

Cinda Langhoff with the Sheboygan Clerk’s office said there were some people who were irate Tuesday at having to show their IDs for the first time to cast a ballot, and one woman refused to show her ID or sign the poll book, another new requirement under the law. In the end, she walked out of the polling site without voting.

“For the most part we haven’t had hardly any complaints,” she said. “Usually everybody has been coming to the door with their IDs ready to show.”

The recall election of Mayor Bob Ryan against former Dem state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren was goosing turnout in Sheboygan with about 18 percent of voters casting ballots by noon. Langhoff said that’s a little higher than normal for a spring primary.

Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Sue Edman said turnout was light, but about right for what’s on the ballot. The local races in the state’s largest city include primaries for city treasurer featuring state Sens. Tim Carpenter and Spencer Coggs, former state Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass and Rick Kissel. Mayor Tom Barrett also faced a primary, but has no real big-name opponent standing between him and re-election.

Edman said the city had a few issues with voters who received notification cards of their polling places that were incorrect, largely because the agency was rushing to get people in the right wards following redistricting. But the voter ID requirement hasn’t been an issue.

“You might have a few complaints,” she said. “But for the most part people are more than happy to display their ID.”

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said any issues with today’s primary have been minor so far.

There have been some instances of poll workers forgetting to ask for an ID as well as some who have taken the requirement too far. The law does not require the address on an ID to match the poll book if the person is already registered to vote, but at least one poll worker insisted it did.

Kennedy said that requirement is not in the law because driver’s licenses are good for eight years and don’t have to be updated if someone moves.

Those registering at the polls, though, need something with their current address on it that establishes their residency.

Kennedy said there was also an issue in one community relating to a new requirement that someone live in their residence for 28 days before being able to cast a ballot in that district. Kennedy said the voter’s license address was not current, so the poll worker sent the voter to the polling place that matched the ID. But the poll worker there said the voter had been gone from the old address for more than 28 days and couldn’t vote there.

“These are isolated incidents, but they’re the kind of thing that happens when you’re deploying a large number of people with a new responsibility,” he said.

-- By JR Ross


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