Democratic U.S. lawmakers from Wisconsin sent a letter to the Department of Justice Wednesday requesting that it deploy federal poll monitors to the state after reports that local officials were providing potential voters with inaccurate information about the state’s voter ID law. The letter also raised concerns about “potential voter intimidation at polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges ‘election rigging.'”
“National figures have suggested that there is widespread voter fraud in our country and have encouraged private citizens to monitor voting behaviors of certain communities for potential misconduct,” said the Democrats’ letter, which was signed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Reps. Gwen Moore, Ron Kind, and Mark Pocan.
The letter cited reports that voters who do not have the IDs required by the state’s voter ID law were having trouble obtaining the free IDs the state was supposed to provide for them to vote. It specifically cited the misinformation being given to them by local officials that was at odds with a court ruling over the summer.
A federal judge in July ruled that the system to get Wisconsin’s non-ID holders free IDs to vote had been a “wretched failure” and ordered the state to do a better job of implementing the program. Months later, potential voters were still being told by local officials that they would not be able to obtain the free IDs in time to vote, according to reports by The Nation and the Journal Sentinel, prompting another rebuke from the judge, U.S. District Judge James Peterson.
“Given the flawed efforts thus far by state officials to properly implement this law, with proof of demonstrably false information being disseminated to voters just days before the election, we fear that irreparable harm may result–particularly to voters of color, who disproportionately bear the brunt of these policies and any Election Day intimidation efforts,” the letter said.
It asked for the DOJ to consider providing “any resources or assistance it can in order to help our state navigate these unsettling circumstances,” including poll monitors or any other elections-monitoring services the agency could offer.
Read the full letter below: