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Wisconsin Election Protection Poll Watchers Dedicated to Nonpartisanship

October 30, 2012

Ann Jacobs, Attorney, Domintz & Skemp, S.C., (414) 736-5001
Stacy Harbaugh, Communications Director, (608) 469-5540, sharbaugh@aclu-wi.org
Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director, (608) 256-0877, Kaminski@lwvwi.org

MILWAUKEE, WI - Members of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Election Protection of Wisconsin are dismayed to hear reports today that the Romney campaign's volunteer (elections) observer training included misinformation about Wisconsin voting laws. Election Protection coalition members including the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin are training poll watchers to be observers who will be non-confrontational and professional in documenting problems voters may face on Election Day.

"The League's volunteers will be trained to be non-confrontational observers and to report problems to chief elections inspectors or to nonpartisan Election Protection attorneys," said League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Executive Director Andrea Kaminski. "All volunteers will be instructed to identify themselves when checking in at the polls. Their job will be to document what happens on Election Day - not to obstruct the process."

Wisconsin Election Protection poll watchers will be identifiable and our partners strive for accuracy and truthfulness in voting rights materials and poll watcher training. The primary goal of Wisconsin Election Protection is to empower citizens with the facts about the voting process and be of assistance if people are denied their right to vote.

"Ultimately it is the responsibility of the poll workers and the chief elections inspectors to stop intimidation and disruption at the polls," said Ann Jacobs, Legal Coordinating Committee member and Director of Attorney Training. "Anyone whose actions disrupt the order of polling places do a disservice to well-trained poll workers and give nonpartisan poll watchers a bad name."

Wisconsin Election Protection's 866 OUR VOTE (866-687-8683) hotline is live through Election Day. Voters who have questions about their voting rights, are turned away from the polls or who see voter intimidation can call this nonpartisan hotline to speak with an attorney or volunteer trained in Wisconsin elections law.

"The right to vote should never be treated as a partisan political football," said Marcia Johnson-Blanco with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "No person affiliated with a campaign should be training volunteers to foster confusion and misinformation at the polling place. Election Protection will work with Election Officials in Wisconsin and across the country to ensure that all eligible Americans are able to vote."

Wisconsin Election Protection is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations whose purpose is to protect voting rights, expose and prevent voter intimidation, and to preserve access to the polls for all voters.  For more on Wisconsin Election Protection, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Find more about the national Election Protection project online.


To read the original article alleging misleading poll watcher trainings, click here.