Voter ID law out, for now

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
— Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler was in a room with other county clerks in Madison on Tuesday when the group heard the news.

A judge had issued an injunction that temporarily suspended the voter ID requirement of the new state law. The injunction means voters won't have to show photo IDs for April 3 elections.

The clerks were meeting with officials from the agency that administers Wisconsin election rules—the Government Accountability Board. A higher court could overturn the injunction, Stottler heard, and that could throw a wrench into the voting process.

The problem would arise for those who cast absentee ballots without photo IDs, Stottler said.

If a higher court cancels the injunction, "what's the status of those votes? And who decides whether they're going to become valid?" Stottler asked.

"We have no idea what it means. What we do know is absentee ballots go out on Monday (to the local clerks)," Stottler said.

Clerks normally would begin mailing absentee ballots Tuesday to those who requested them, she said.

Most absentee voters vote by mail or at their municipal clerks' offices. With voter ID, those voters would show their ID cards at the clerks' offices or, if they vote by mail, they would send photocopies of their photo IDs.

Stottler said she and other clerks are concerned about how they can protect voters "from this game of volley(ball) that the people above us are playing. … We're going to be at the mercy of the courts for this whole thing."

Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy told the clerks that GAB attorneys would be up most of Tuesday night to consider the possible effects of the court order, Stottler said.

"I'm sure by tomorrow we'll have some sort of guidance," Stottler said Tuesday afternoon.

Janesville Clerk/Treasurer Jean Wulf had similar concerns when she heard the news Tuesday. She said she would wait for guidance.

"The GAB is going to have to take the lead here," Wulf said.

Last updated: 8:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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