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Election monitors testify about voter ID challenges

MILWAUKEE (WSAU-Wheeler News)   The head of the state elections agency said it was a real challenge to train 1,850 municipal clerks about the voter I-D law. Kevin Kennedy testified yesterday at a trial in Milwaukee, in which the ACLU and minority groups are challenging the constitutionality of the photo I-D mandate.

Under the plaintiffs' questioning, Kennedy said it was never easy to pass on all the details of the law to a group that represents about one-sixth of all clerks in the country. Unlike most states, Wisconsin lets municipalities run elections instead of the much fewer counties. With over 30,000 poll workers statewide, Kennedy said it was human nature to have glitches -- like not having some voters sign poll books, or signing on the wrong lines. Kennedy's agency is a defendant in the lawsuit, because it enforces what the Republican governor and Legislature passed in 2011. The trial is going into its fifth day in federal court in Milwaukee. It's expected to continue for another week.

Part of the law -- but not all of it -- was struck down in 2012 by two state judges. Plaintiffs contend the photo I-D requirement discourages the poor and minorities from voting, because of their difficulty to get I-D's. Kennedy said he proposed letting those without I-D's vote by signing sworn statements affirming the identities, with criminal penalties for lying. He said quote, "The Legislature chose not to adopt that."