Nonpartisan Election Report Highlights Importance of Same-­Day Registration and Improved Election Administration

Story Date: 
Feb 6, 2013

Cross posted from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

A new report from Wisconsin Election Protection, a coalition of nonpartisan groups that includes the ACLU of Wisconsin, emphasized the effective and efficient use of same-­day registration by hundreds of thousands of voters in the November 2012 elections in Wisconsin. Identified problems in voting administration were generally site‐specific, and not a sign of larger issues.  The report can be found here.


Hundreds of observers statewide found that local election officials correctly and efficiently administered same-day registration in most polling places, providing hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens the opportunity to register for the first time or update their address at their polling place. Additionally, same-day registration allowed voters whose names were erroneously not in the poll books (despite being properly registered) to re-register and cast a regular ballot on Election Day.


“Same-day registration is a cost-effective tool that has served Wisconsin voters of all political stripes with few problems for 36 years. Further, it is an important safeguard for those inevitable data-entry problems that can result in a registered voter’s name not making it into the poll books,” said Andrea Kaminski, executive director of League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, one of the constituent groups of Wisconsin Election Protection.


Wisconsin Election Protection noted significant improvements in election administration and polling place management since the statewide recall elections in June.  They attributed the improvements to enhanced training of local election officials, as well as clarification of standard rules and procedures by the Government Accountability Board.


Electronic Proof of Residence – using cell phones, computers or other devices to show proof of residence – was implemented for the first time in this election. “Poll workers were observed using cell phones and other devices to help register voters with few problems,” said Ann Jacobs, Attorney and Training Director for the Legal Coordinating Committee for Wisconsin Election Protection. “In fact, Electronic Proof of Residence was a fast and efficient method of helping voters register at the polls, with some poll workers even bringing their own devices to the polls to assist voters.”
Wisconsin Election Protection trained and placed almost 500 volunteer observers in polling places in cities, towns and villages across the state in the November 2012 election.  All of the citizen observers were backed up by 150 trained volunteer lawyers who responded to concerns promptly and appropriately.

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