Senator’s Electoral Reform Proposal Includes Stricter Voter ID Laws

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A package of bills designed to tighten up procedures at election polling places is making its way through the state legislature.

Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) is the author of the six-bill package. She says it’s a response to irregularities that took place during the controversial recount in a 2012 state Senate race in Racine between Democrat John Lehman and Republican Van Wanggaard. Lazich says bags of ballots were delivered already opened and many of the ballots proved hard to verify from the poll lists.

“There were people that were very dissatisfied during that Racine recount trying to understand what went on during that election process and who was in charge,” says Lazich. “So what this does is provide better administration – more accountability.”

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The most controversial bill in the package would require poll workers to record the details of identification documents voters provide if they register at the polls on the day of the election. Sen. Lazich says law enforcement has asked for this change so they track down people who try to vote illegally.

“They come to us and say, ‘We don’t have the information we need to follow up and prosecute or investigate fraud’,” she says. “The process is open to fraud, it’s open to voter suppression by those who can vote twice.”

But Scott Foval of People for the American Way says voter fraud is not a threat to the election process. “There has not been enough … real evidence produced anywhere around the country that voter ID fraud is a problem.”

Foval says stricter ID rules will discourage elderly and minority voters who lack conventional identification from casting their ballots.

Updated: the first version of this story online said the state Senate race took place in 2011, when it actually took place in 2012.

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