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.
Following the 2000 election, the country waited for one state to determine the next president. Florida officials stumbled through their recount, taking weeks to sort through voting irregularities.
Eventually the US Supreme Court intervened. Florida became the target of jokes and international scrutiny. To avoid a similar fate for Wisconsin, we need election problems addressed before November.
Soon after the last recall, leaders in the state Assembly wrote a letter to Government Accountability Board (GAB) Director Kevin Kennedy regarding recent election problems. Among their concerns were reports about electors not signing the poll book as required by law, sloppy handling of ballot bags, and the acceptance of improper proof of residency.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin recently issued their final report on the recall elections. The report described that statewide, “many registrars were not clear about what constituted acceptable documentation for proof of residency.” For example, the League observed that one poll worker incorrectly accepted an oil change receipt and a rent referral check, while another would not accept a Wisconsin driver’s license with a current address as allowed by law. Both of these instances are troubling symptoms of a bigger issue, some poll workers lack a basic understanding of the law. In fact, having personally observed the recount in Racine for days, I can unequivocally say that inadequate poll worker training is a problem.
These are just a few examples of problems we uncovered at Racine:
-Supplemental poll books were nearly incomprehensible and books in some Racine wards took days to reconcile while other municipalities took only an hour or two.
-One poll book was missing 18 pages of voter information, with up to 10 voters per page. Another poll book was so bad that a poll worker wrote on the top of page one, this is not my doing.
-One chief election inspector, the boss at each polling place, told recount officials she could not explain the reason a tamper seal on her bag of ballots had been broken. When asked if it was broken at the time she signed it, she responded no, and admitted that she pre-signed the ballot bag. A temporary worker actually filled and sealed the bag.
Appropriately, one board of canvass member called the ballot security in Racine “atrocious.”
As a swing state in the upcoming presidential election we need these problems fixed immediately. A “good faith effort”, as Senator Lehman called the election in Racine, will not stop us from becoming the new Florida.
In response to Assembly leadership, GAB Director Kennedy wrote that there was not evidence of voter fraud, and that missing signatures and a lack of voters signing the poll books was an administrative oversight. To remedy these problems, Director Kennedy stated that the GAB is planning a Back to Basics training component for poll workers. I look forward to the implementation of this program.