State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Fair elections are the cornerstone to any successful democracy. With all the power entrusted to our elected officials, it is vital that every vote from every citizen is counted once and weighed equally.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.
During the weeks since the June 5 recall elections and throughout my tenure as chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections, I have heard countless reports of elections irregularities.
Indeed, following the recall election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described “poll watchers statewide reported confusion over the residency requirement implemented this year.”
For instance, according to the League of Women Voters, an elector was recently allowed to use a Jiffy Lube receipt as proof of residence in one county. In a different county, a poll watcher witnessed bills addressed to occupant used as proof of residency. Yet another report surfaced regarding voter registration materials found in a dumpster outside a polling place.
If accurate, these incidents provide a troubling glimpse into inconsistent election administration in need of immediate remedy. Now that the worst of the political strife is behind us, it is time to get to the bottom of these reports.
Accordingly, I wrote the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee June 14, 2012, and called for the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to conduct a review of Election Day processes and practices. The well-respected and non-partisan Audit Bureau is uniquely positioned to get to the bottom of complex state issues.
If ordered by the committee, the audit would include a review of complaints to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) regarding voter irregularities and an assessment of the GAB’s procedures for resolving these concerns. It could also include a review of training for local election officials and GAB’s efforts to ensure election laws are followed, as well as LAB monitoring of polling places on Election Day.
This audit request should be met with bipartisan support by members of the Legislative Audit Committee. I am optimistic that the audit will be approved and provide a solid foundation for moving forward after the last year and a half.