Congressional lawmakers ask DOJ to monitor Wisconsin elections

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBAY) – Wisconsin’s Democratic lawmakers in Congress are asking the federal Department of Justice to monitor the polls in Wisconsin on election day.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and Mark Pocan (D-Madison) sent a letter to the DOJ on Wednesday.

They say they want help, especially with poll monitoring. They say the political environment has become intimidating for voters, pointing specifically to the Voter ID law, which they say was poorly implemented and repeatedly challenged in courts and put the votes of poor people and minorities in jeopardy.

The state’s 2011 voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, has been repeatedly challenged in federal court due to its discriminatory effects on vulnerable populations’ voting rights.  Due to the law’s contentious nature and poor implementation, coupled with a political environment that is becoming increasingly intimidating, we are requesting the Department of Justice’s assistance in overseeing the state’s monitoring of the election, including by providing poll-monitoring services in Wisconsin.

“We have continued to see how Wisconsin’s voter ID law puts the franchise of many Wisconsinites, particularly people of color, in real jeopardy. Over the last month, press reports have revealed that on numerous occasions, Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicle employees provided erroneous and incomplete information to potential voters who are unable to obtain IDs due to a lack of required documentation (like a birth certificate), despite their eligibility for alternative credentials.”

“We ask the Department to provide any resources or assistance it can in order to help our state navigate these unsettling circumstances.  For example, the Department has historically provided poll monitors on Election Day to help ensure that all eligible voters will be permitted to register and exercise their fundamental right to participate in our democracy. We therefore urge the Department of Justice to utilize any available election monitoring resources to ensure voters in Wisconsin are able to safely access the polls.”

You can read the complete letter at wi-dems-to-doj-poll-monitor-request (PDF format)