UW-Madison students vote at the Red Gym.


The state Government Accountability Board will request $250,000 from the Legislature's budget committee to educate voters about Wisconsin's voter ID law before the 2016 presidential election.

The GAB voted 4-2 during its Tuesday meeting to submit a formal request to the Joint Finance Committee to fund an informational campaign.

The campaign is ready to go, said spokesman Reid Magney, but the Legislature appropriated no money in the current budget for it to run on TV, radio, newspapers and billboards.

Gov. Scott Walker approved the law, which requires certain forms of photo identification to be shown at the polls in order to vote, in 2011. The measure was in place for the February 2012 primary, but was then blocked by orders from judges in state and federal court.

After a series of legal challenges, the measure was put back in place this year for the Feb. 16 spring primary and April 5 presidential primary election.

The GAB spent about $720,000 on a statewide campaign after the law was passed, but additional funding wasn't allocated when it took effect once again after years of legal challenges.

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin executive director Andrea Kaminski both spoke at the board's meeting Tuesday, urging members to make the funding request.

The Joint Finance Committee's supplemental fund has just $267,000 for all state agencies through June 30, 2017.

As Madison as it gets: Get Cap Times' highlights sent daily to your inbox

Magney said he spoke with the agency that produced the campaign, which recommended an "intensive campaign" in the month before the election costing about $500,000. The agency also drew up plans for a $260,000 campaign using less airtime. 

"Any money we asked for and got we could certainly use," Magney said.

Some board members questioned how effective any campaign would be in reaching people who aren't aware of the requirements. 

A Marquette University Law School poll released in February found that 16 percent of registered voters either thought photo identification wasn't required or didn't know if it was.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.