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.
That’s the assessment of a new report by the Pew Center on the States on electionline.org. A record number of voter registrations and predicted high turnouts will put heavy pressure on various voting systems around the country that continue to be plagued by glitches.
The report, “Election Preview 2008: What if We Had an Election and Everyone Came?” sums up Wisconsin:
”The statewide voter registration database was finally completed and made compliant with federal law over the summer, two years later than planned. However hiccups still emerged when the state started matching voter information with information in the department of motor vehicles database and found one in five records did not match due to issues such as typos, transposed letters or numbers, or using middle names for one record but not the other. And as in several other battleground states, there has been partisan fighting over voter eligibility and allegations of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted.”
Nationally, the report describes America’s voting system as one that, “while still in flux with a host of changes since 2001, will, ready or not, face its greatest challenge in a high-stakes contest with massive turnout.” Here are some of the concerns raised in the report:
1) There has been a huge increase in voter registrations. How the information was gathered has come into questions with labor unions, community groups, advocacy organizations and others coming under heavy scrutiny.
2) Eligibility for college students, especially those who come to universities from out-of-state, has raised eyebrows.
3) Election Day registration is available in eight states, including Wisconsin. The surge in voter registrations makes the timeliness of registration-application processing an issue.
4) As a safety net, voters who believe that they are registered or fail to present proper ID are given d provisional ballots as required by the Help America Vote Act, HAVA. However, there is no uniformity among the states. More than half of the states require voters to be in the correct precinct to have their provisional ballots eligible for counting.
5) Record numbers of provisional ballots are predicted. In close races, decisions to accept or reject ballots could be pivotal to election outcomes.
6) Military personnel and civilian citizens abroad sill face problems, including relying on slow and/or unreliable foreign mail services and rules that can require witnesses or difficult-to-find notaries to substantiate ballots.
Stateline.org has an article on the report.
You can read the lengthy report here.
Read my previous blogs on this issue:
Predictions of an error-filled Election Day appear to be true
A Photo ID requirement is not the problem in our election system