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Clerks raise concerns about poll-worker bill

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Local government clerks fear that a state Senate bill would replace community poll workers with out-of-town partisans appointed by the state's parties. The bill is one of several measures from Senate Elections Committee chair Mary Lazich which got public hearings yesterday. The New Berlin Republican also wants to make poll workers keep lists of the documents voters use to prove their residency when they register. She also suggested firmer rules for marking damaged ballots and securing ballot containers.

Lazich also wants to give the governor more options in choosing nominees for the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin elections. The bills getting the most criticism would let communities have out-of-town poll workers -- and force both parties to have poll workers in places when the parties use their long-standing power to nominate them.

Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy said local clerks are concerned that their local poll workers would be replaced by faraway partisans. Scot Ross of the liberal One Wisconsin Now group said Lazich's bill would create delays and intimidation designed to reduce voting in targeted areas. Lazich said her goal is to help communities find qualified poll workers, and not replace locals with partisans.