Wisconsin clarifies policy on photo ID: not required to observe recount

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UPDATE: 12/2:

(WBAY) – The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Friday clarified its rules on photo identification for presidential election recount observers.

“Because canvass boards are subject to the open meetings law, the public is entitled to attend and cannot be required to present a photo ID as a condition of attending the meeting,” reads a memo from WEC Interim Administrator Michael Haas.

Haas apologized for “confusion” regarding the photo ID policy, and told canvassers to stop requiring observers to ask for identification.

Click here to read Haas’s memo.


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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – People are turning out to observe recount efforts across Wisconsin to make sure it’s being run with integrity. But to do that they need a photo ID.

“Have the person’s picture and name on it. It’s not necessarily a Wisconsin driver’s license or a Wisconsin identification card,” said Outagamie County Clerk Lori O’Bright.

That’s a statewide rule. In Wisconsin Elections Commission’s 2016 recount manual, it says that observers are “subject to the observer rules established by the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the board of canvassers.”

WEC says those current rules were made in 2014 and state, “An observer shall present photo identification to an election inspector.”

WEC explained that those rules carry over to a recount because a recount is a part of the election.

It also explained why that rule was made.

“They’ve got ballots open there. They’ve got other things going on,” Wisconsin Election Commission’s Reid Magney said. “They try to secure it as much as possible, but in the event there’s any problems, they want to know who was there.”

We talked to at least two other counties in our area, who say they didn’t check the photo ID’s of observers Monday.

The WEC tells WBAY they’ll be checking with local counties Tuesday to make sure they’re on the same page.

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