Wisconsin elections board upholds ban on observers’ use of cameras

Ripped from the headlines with the latest in election news:

There will be no selfies — or any other photos taken by observers — at the polls this August.

The state elections board decided Monday to support a rule banning election observers from taking photos and videotaping what happens at the polls, including selfies and photos of family members.

The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, has banned observers from using cameras for years and did so again in a 4-2 voice vote Monday.

Thomas Barland, John Franke, Gerald Nichol and Elsa Lamelas voted in favor of upholding a section that prohibited cameras in polling areas while Timothy Vocke and Harold Froelich said the prohibition should be removed to allow for an experiment to see whether cameras could be used responsibly in the partisan primary Aug. 12.

The board’s ruling will likely stay in place for the primary election and Nov. 4 general election.

The issue arose anew as the board finalized administrative rules on election observers.

The two legislators who oversee elections committees — Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Rep. Kathleen Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) — oppose the board’s camera ban and have asked for changes to the rules, according to a memo from the accountability board’s director, Kevin Kennedy.

Just think of the irony. You could do in the polling place things you aren’t allowed to do in the legislative gallery!


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