Conservatively Speaking

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.

Today's Transportation and Elections Committee Hearing

elections, GAB

The attached memo to Government Accountability Board Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy provides background about today’s Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections informational hearing.

From: Sen.Lazich
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:58 AM
Subject: Senate Transportation and Elections October 26, 2011 Informational Hearing

To:  Kevin Kennedy

       Director and General Counsel
       Government Accountability Board

From:  State Senator Mary Lazich

Date:  October 25, 2011

Subject:  October 26, 2011, Senate Transportation and Elections Informational Hearing


In advance of tomorrow’s Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections informational hearing, I am writing about discussion topics.  The issues in item one below came to attention since issuance of the October 19, 2011, memo and the other topics cause concern.


1.) Government Accountability Board memo dated October 19, 2011, about legislative redistricting, effective date and use of state funds. Multiple concerns have come to light since the publication of the memo opining legislative districts created by 2011 Wisconsin Act 43 are not in effect for recall elections prior to November 6, 2012.  The questions are:


  • There is a constitutional question about using outdated maps due to one person, one vote.  The Legislature is constitutionally required to reapportion after every census because of unconstitutional apportionment of districts.  How does the Legislature reconcile the 1982 federal court ruling that old maps are unconstitutional yet are required during potential recalls due to Act 43?  Aren’t the old districts unconstitutional upon completion of census data and adoption of new maps? 


  • For example, some districts became grossly malapportioned over the past decade.  Under the old maps, 18,000 people, 32 percent above the average, over populate Assembly District 79.  Meanwhile, 20,000 under populate Senate District 6.  What implications does this have for recalls under old maps?


  • The senators representing odd-numbered senate districts elected during 2010 will spend the majority of their four-year terms representing new districts in Act 43.  Using the old maps for recall elections results in constituents of the senator denied a vote or say about the person representing them for the bulk of the senator’s four-year term, and results in people electing a senator for a district they are not a resident.   


  • Does this beg the question for recall petitions under old maps by people that elected the senators, and elections under new maps by the voters of the new district?


  • If a recall election and a regular spring election are the same day, are there voting rights concerns for a voter voting in two different wards in two different polling places?   Would a voter vote twice?  Do both votes count?  Will the system allow two votes?  At the very least, isn’t this extremely confusing?


  • What happens with a local municipality that notifies voters of their new ward assignments for the upcoming spring and any subsequent elections, and then has a recall election in old, nonexistent wards that may exclude voters or include voters not eligible under the new wards?


  • Old maps used for recall elections occurring after April 15, the date legislators circulate nomination papers under the new maps, could result in legislators campaigning in two different districts simultaneously.  Is this a reasonable result, or is there a recommendation to remedy the confusion?


2.) Proof of 28-day residency requirement.  In the wake of 2011 Act 23, the voter ID bill, there is confusion over the implementation in Wis. Stats. 6.02 (1), requiring a voter to have been a resident of the voting district for 28 days.  Clarification is needed regarding the use of documents to prove length of residency.


3.) Poll worker residency. Current law places restrictions on the ability to be a poll worker in municipalities other than the municipality of residence.  Legislation, AB 169, about this issue is introduced by Representative Pridemore.


4.) Clarifying Wisconsin State Statute 7.53(2)(d) double voting.  Current policy allows a citizen to cast an absentee ballot and cast a ballot in person election day.  It is the responsibility of elections workers to catch the absentee ballot before it is counted.  There is concern this policy does not comply with Wis. Stats. 12.12(1)(e), prohibiting a person from voting more than once in the same election, and that the process relies on the system to remove the absentee ballot.


5.) Student identifications. Concern is expressed about implementation of the student ID standard in Act 23, including university production methods, such as the use of stickers, and security.


6.) GAB notification regarding out-of-state voters.  There is concern Act 23 deletes a statutory provision requiring clerks to notify the GAB about a voter presenting an out-of-state ID. 


7.) Poll book signature verification.  Act 23 includes a provision requiring electors to sign the poll book.  Questions arise about the definition of the word, signature, and enforcement by poll workers.


8.) Poll location change notification.  The issue will be addressed in SB 116, expected to be approved by the State Assembly today, creating 30-day notification.


9.) Notarization of recall petition circulator signatures.  Current law requires a circulator to sign a recall petition to verify he or she personally circulated the recall petition and personally obtained each signature.  A suggestion to deter fraud is to use a notarized signature for a circulator.


10.) Identification requirement for registration.  Act 23 requires a photo ID for voting, and does not require photo ID for registration.  There is desire to have the ID requirement be the same for registration and voting.


11.) Registration checks prior to ballot acceptance.  There is concern names are not screened prior to addition to the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS).


12.) Unverified and ineligible registration removal.  Related to the point above, there is concern the SVRS contains an unacceptable number of unverified or ineligible registrations. 


13.) Provisional ballot security.  Normal ballots cast election day are secured in a sealed container.  Provisional ballots are treated differently, and there is concern provisional ballots are vulnerable to tampering.


14.) Justification for absentee voting privilege.  Currently in Wisconsin, any registered voter may use the absentee ballot voting privilege.  Some desire a voter provide justification for an absentee ballot.


15.) Payment for recall petition circulators.  There is concern about payment of recall petition circulators.


16.) Recall circulator residency.  There is concern about recall circulators not being residents of the respective district.


I appreciate your availability for the hearing and I look forward to discussing these issues.





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