Good News: Wisconsin Poll Watchers Aren't Really Trained to Block Real Voters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 30 2012 5:21 PM

Good News: Wisconsin Poll Watchers Aren't Really Trained to Block Real Voters

Scott Keyes has obtained and posted some training materials for volunteer GOP poll-watchers in Wisconsin which, according, to Keyes, get the facts wrong. It sounds horrifying, but if you keep reading, it only looks a little sloppy. For example, Keyes compares the CLAIM that "Any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn’t eligible to vote" to the FACT that "Once a person who has been convicted of a felony completes his or her sentence, including probation and fines, that person is eligible to vote."

That sounds misleading until you get to page 13, which lists causes for possible challenges. Among them: a vote from a "felon who has not been restored his/her civil rights." The key line was dropped early in the guide and restored later. Similarly, the guide's advice for getting ballots to disabled people tells volunteers that they "can deliver the ballot to the voter if the CEI verifies the elector’s proof of residency." Keyes's response: "Under Wisconsin law, the CEI (Chief Election Inspector) does not have to verify proof of residency so long as the voter is registered." But if the voter is registered, the state... has an active address for him.

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The poll-watch brigade is worth keeping an eye on, but I don't see the villainy here.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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