Oct 12, 2014

Same-day Voter Registration Problem, and Easy Fix

Wisconsin Voter Registration Application;
GAB-131 document (REV 2014/05)
No voter ID is required to vote in Wisconsin

Repeat, no matter the noise emitting from our corrupt attorney general: No voter ID is needed to vote in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered no voter ID.

Moving on.

Same-day registration

There is one issue with Election-day registration (that Scott Walker tried to eliminate in 2012, backing down), and it's an easy fix.

The problem

The problem is the new voter registration system on Election Day has voters enter their data into the voter registration form from lap tops, under the supervision of poll workers (who ask questions on ID and residency).

The Fall 2014 Primary Election Day in August gave us a live usability test of the new voter registration system.

The results point to the problem for November's Election Day-registration voters, and the time period for registering voters increasing exponentially in high-turnout elections: Time to register on the new system is long and confusing for voters.

A rough guess: 30 minutes per voter.

Election inspectors (poll workers) train in filling out the Wisconsin Voter Registration Application form (above-right). Voters are given no such training and asked to input the data not knowing what data field is next.

The process takes longer with the voter (rather than the election inspector) entering the data, presenting the necessary ID and residency documents, printing out the Registration Application form, checking it for errors, and then voting.

Some 30 minutes per voter for registering, plus time in line, and each voter's time ahead of other voters added to voters behind her.

The Fix to the problem

The fix is multiple lap tops and more staff to help registering.

In our voting district, Fitchburg District One (wards one-four), the demographics and frequency of same-day registrants demand some nine lap tops per voting district of roughly 3,000-plus voters on Election Day.

In communities where there are young voters and renters, nine lap tops per 3,000-registering voters are advisable to decrease the long lines in November 2012 and June 2012.

In student and dense population districts, this number is higher.

Ask your municipal clerk. Ask the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party.

Among Wisconsin's 1,800 municipal clerks, most are open to logical suggestions, and clerks have lists of Special Registration Deputies who are willing to take up the slack of regular poll workers to see that Election Day registrants are not penalized for participating in the highly successful Wisconsin policy of same-day registration.

People (especially those with young children) are sometimes forced to get up and walk away without having registered when the lines are too long, another objective of the Republican Party. I've seen it.

"During major statewide elections, 10 – 15 percent of Wisconsin electors register to vote or update their voter registration on Election Day," notes the Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board (GAB).

Statewide Election Day-registering voters composed some 266,974 voters, 10.6 percent of the electorate in November 2012, notes the GAB.

Here is a list of Wisconsin municipal clerks, staff and contact info.

For more information on voter registration deadlines and how-to-resister, see the GAB voter registration site. Early registering and early voting are advised.

For the Republican Party that used the now-blocked voter ID law as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government," other dirty tricks are ready to be implemented including harassment and interference with a voter's effort to vote.

If you see intimidation, discrimination, or any interference with a voter's process of voting, check the polling place's large bulletin board of public information and report the crimes.

Ask for the Chief Election inspector, and ask for the documenting of an incident report for starters. Then call the Clerk's office, the GAB, and the US attorney's office.

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