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Senate Dems decry GOP polling place bills

Polling Place
Polling Place

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin Senate Democrats say it's wrong for Republicans to assume that local polling place workers are tied to political parties -- or that their mistakes are evidence of corruption. 

Tuesday, Senate Republicans approved four bills to avoid a repeat of what the GOP called sloppy practices and irregularities in last year's Senate recall election in Racine County. 

Republican Van Wanggaard, who lost that election, blamed numerous irregularities at the polls.  Racine County authorities investigated, but never charged anyone. 

Still, GOP Elections Committee chair Mary Lazich said there was a need for reform -- and it resulted in four bills passed Tuesday with only a handful of Democratic yes votes. 

One bill would require poll workers of different parties to perform various tasks, but only where a party exercised its right to nominate a poll worker. 

Other bills require two poll workers of opposite parties to secure ballot containers -- mark ballots with damages and other problems uniformly -- and make poll workers record the documents voters present to show proof of residency. 

Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach said it could make personal data public, thus opening those people up to identity theft. Green Bay Democrat Dave Hansen says the measures are designed to make it harder to vote, and harder to be a clerk. 

The measures now go to the GOP-controlled Assembly.

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