Wis. faces potential voter ID ‘nightmare’

From the Associated Press

A lawsuit demanding that Wisconsin election officials verify voters’ identity before the November election could lead to frustration at the polls and exhausted clerks in a hotly contested state in the presidential race.

Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, demands that the state Government Accountability Board order election clerks to confirm the identities of potentially tens of thousands of voters -- and possibly many more -- who have registered since Jan. 1, 2006. The work would have to be done by election day, Nov. 4. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has scheduled a Sept. 19 hearing.

A leader of local election clerks on Thursday predicted huge problems if the judge sided with Van Hollen.

“This is going to be a nightmare,” said Nancy Zastrow, president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Assn.


A federal law that took effect Jan. 1, 2006, requires states to build a voter registration list and check it against other state databases to confirm identities. Wisconsin officials couldn’t get cross-checking software to work until this past Aug. 6. The accountability board instructed clerks to verify the identities only of people registered since that date.