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As I See It

Voter education campaign needed in Wisconsin



Voting in Wisconsin is generally a positive experience. Those who take time to cast a ballot can feel pride in participating in the civic process. But it isn’t always a positive experience for everyone. The Wisconsin League of Women Voters monitored the most recent election, and found that while for most the process went smoothly, that wasn’t the case for everyone. The League placed volunteer election observers in more than 200 polling locations throughout Wisconsin in the April election. They wanted to see how the voting process went for those seeking to cast a ballot, and for poll workers who assisted them, particularly in light of the new requirements of Voter ID. Generally, the findings are encouraging. The majority of voters were able to easily produce a proper ID, complete a ballot or register at the polls. Those who didn’t have the proper ID were assisted by poll workers and given proper instruction for providing the necessary documents. Many poll workers go above and beyond, in one case even lending their glasses to an elderly woman who could not read the ballot. But some poll workers misapplied the law, or weren’t aware of the opportunity to cast provisional ballots. Some potential voters were turned off by long lines and simply left. That’s why it is important that as we prepare for the November election, when turnout is expected to be even higher, that the state begin an educational campaign for both voters and poll workers. The League recommends more training of poll workers, better staffing, and better polling site management. We should do what we can to make voting a pleasant experience for all involved.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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