Sep 15, 2014

Electoral Chaos in Wisconsin Begins

Update: New York Times: Rick Hasen: "It is hard enough to administer an election with set rules — much less to change the rules midstream."
The ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has election clerks and the Wisconsin GAB wondering what to do now that the Court has seen it fit to change the rules on the eve of the election and carry out the GOP objective: Chaos and voter obstruction.

Almost 12,000 absentee ballots have already been mailed out.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) notes there is one set of rules for some voters and another set for other voters:

"Absentee ballots that are mailed will need to include uniform instructions depending upon the type of voter which incorporate directions about the photo ID requirement.  For that reason, municipalities are directed not to mail out any additional absentee ballots until the G.A.B. issues those uniform instructions which will occur as soon as possible."

Military and permanent overseas voters are exempt from the photo ID requirement."

The GAB also notes: "The Government Accountability Board will communicate additional guidance to local election officials next (this) week, which will include instructions regarding the processing of absentee ballots which have already been issued."

This means apparently that different sets of ballots are processed under different rules.

Some voters will have to follow the law, others will not.

Rick Hasen notes:

Friday’s 7th Circuit order was the height of irresponsibility which did not even bother to consider or mention the difficulty of rolling out voter id when the voting process had already started. 

Someone wise once said: “Court orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase.” Oh yeah, it was the U.S. Supreme Court. Why didn’t the Seventh Circuit listen?

Elsewhere, Ari Berman points out Wisconsin features a unique set of facts and arguments in light of Crawford v. Marion County, which is supposed to be a content and state-specific ruling, suggesting an emergency hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals and soon.

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