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WI Elections Chief: $460K Needed to Educate Voters about Photo ID Requirement

The state Government Accountability Board wants to revive a voter photo ID public service campaign.

It ran early in 2012, when photo IDs were required at the polls. After one election in February, courts blocked the mandate’s enforcement, amid court challenges.

The requirement remained blocked until earlier this month, when a federal appeals court ruled it could be reinstated for the Nov. 4 elections.

Kevin Kennedy of the GAB says the public service campaign has been updated and is ready to hit the airwaves. However, he says the Legislature must release $460,800 in “already-appropriated funds,” so the GAB can pay for the airtime on TV and radio stations statewide.

There are just five weeks before the Nov. 4 election. An estimated 300,000 eligible voters don’t have one of the approved forms of ID to vote.

Kennedy says the GAB campaign is designed to remind all voters they will need an ID at the polls, and to inform those without the proper ID that there’s still time to obtain an ID through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Opponents of photo ID say it will disenfranchise voters, especially low-income and minority voters. Those who back the mandate say it will prevent fraud at the polls.

Ann-Elise Henzl became News Director in September 2017.
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