MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s spot checks found problems with how the state’s voter ID law was being administered at Division of Motor Vehicle driver’s license stations, Gov. Scott Walker said Friday.
Walker’s admission that law enforcement officers had concerns with the state’s handling of the voter ID requirement comes less than five weeks before Election Day and hours before the DMV had to report to a federal court how it was administering the law. The judge ordered that update following the release of audio recordings that revealed DMV workers giving inaccurate information to people seeking IDs to vote.
Walker said the state DOJ’s spot checks “overall had a series of good responses but they had some things they had concerns with.” He did not specify what those concerns were, but said the state Department of Transportation had responded. DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos did not immediately respond to an email seeking details about what the law enforcement agency found.
A Wednesday hearing is scheduled on a motion to suspend the state’s voter ID requirement for the Nov. 8 election, brought by liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now.
Earlier this week, the head of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation assured lawmakers that DMV workers were receiving additional training on how to help those seeking IDs.
Wisconsin law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls and allows for state ID cards to be provided free of charge. In May, the DOT adopted regulations allowing people who lack the supporting documents — such as birth certificates — needed to obtain an ID to get a receipt they can use for voting. The rules dictate that the receipts must be mailed within six days of applying.
But recordings released in the past week by a worker for the national group VoteRiders made at various DMV offices across Wisconsin revealed state employees were giving inaccurate information and saying there was no guarantee potential voters would get credentials needed to cast a ballot.
Walker said part of the concern was not only whether the proper training had been given to DMV workers, but whether they were properly following through.
“The bottom line is we’re looking at increasing training, making sure that all the employees in the Division of Motor Vehicles are responding to the request from the judge as well as the direction the secretary of the Department of Transportation has given them,” Walker said.
Numerous Wisconsin election-related laws were struck down in July as unconstitutional, including limits on early voting. While U.S. District Judge James Peterson left the voter ID law in place, he ordered the state to improve the way it gives credentials to people who don’t have birth certificates or face other challenges to getting IDs.
Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer