Stacie B. Royster
Director of Communications
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
(202) 445-6101 (cell)
Washington, D.C., June 5, 2012 – Hundreds of voters have called into the Election Protection Hotline during the Wisconsin Recall Election today seeking information and reporting a number of problems at poll locations throughout the state.
As of 1 p.m. today, Election Protection received 594 calls from the state of Wisconsin with polling place inquiries, questions about the residency requirements needed for Election Day Registration, poll workers improperly asking voters to present ID in order to vote, and deceptive robocalls suggesting voters that who signed petitions or voted in earlier elections did not have to vote today. Additionally, Election Protection received 519 calls over the weekend and on Monday from Wisconsin voters.
Over half of the calls have been from callers needing polling place information; many were not notified about polling place changes due to redistricting. Additionally there has been a lot of confusion about the 28-day residency requirements for Election Day Registration, especially how they relate to students now home from school and the documents needed for this new requirement. More troubling have been reports from callers indicating that poll workers are turning away voters based on confusion about the proof of residency requirements, including being asked for photo ID, despite the recently passed photo ID law being enjoined by the law. The Wisconsin photo ID law is currently enjoined and voters ARE NOT required to present ID to cast a ballot today.
Below are some highlighted stories (media can view reports of calls made to the Hotline at https://electionawareness.appspot.com/reports):
- Voters initially turned away despite providing sufficient proof of residency.
- Voter was challenged by poll worker because she did not provide a photo ID; however, when the voter threatened to record the conversation, the poll worker apologized and allowed her to vote
- Voter received a letter in the mail falsely stating that her polling location had changed because of an event
- Voter reported being turned away and witnessing others turned away despite providing sufficient proof of residency.
- Voters reported being challenged repeatedly by the same poll worker, but having no problems with a different poll worker.
- Voter received a voicemail from an unidentified voicemail falsely stating that if you voted in a recall primary you don't need to vote in the recall election).
- Voter reported individuals wearing "Vote!" teachers providing incorrect and misleading information to voters about the location of their polling location. They suspected that these individuals were attempting to dissuade voters by frustrating and misleading them.
- A voter reported that he and his wife encountered people inside the polling place (not officials) yelling at him “you better not vote for Scott Walker,” and another individual asking to see their ballots and, when they refused, accusing them of being Republicans.
- Poll workers were making mistakes by marking the wrong names on the voter roll, and not monitoring the polling boxes.
- Leading up to the elections Milwaukee County buses had false information about photo ID laws, dissuading voters because of their lack of ID.
Election Protection had trained volunteers answering the hotline and being dispatched to polling locations in Milwaukee. Our volunteers are working with election officials to help direct voters to the appropriate polling place and quickly resolve problems as they occur. Election Protection’s on the ground team remains stationed at polls across the state to ensure every voter’s ballot is properly accounted for.
If voters feel that their rights are being denied or experienced intimidation at the polls, they should contact Election Protection’s 866-OUR-VOTE hotline immediately. Election Protection is responding to voter requests for assistance and reports of all problems at the polls made to the hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE), Web site (www.866OurVote.org ) and Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/866OURVOTE).
All voters have the right to an efficient, fair and accurate election process. The only way to prevent such failures in the future will be to institute comprehensive policies to modernize the registration process, voting systems, and administration and to prevent disenfranchisement of all voters.
If you or anyone you know has questions about your voting rights, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline has hundreds of trained Election Protection volunteers and legal experts available to provide direct assistance to voters in Wisconsin. Election Protection helps voters understand their rights, verify their registration status, find their polling place, and resolve Election Day issues.
Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline (1-866-687-8683) and dedicated team of legal experts and trained volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance. The coalition has more than 100 partners – including the NAACP, National Bar Association, NALEO, Native Vote, Asian-American Justice Center, National Education Association and the Brennan Center for Justice – at the national, state and local level and is providing live voter protection services now through Election Day for all 50 states.
For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit: www.866ourvote.org.