UW-ELECTIONDAY-APRIL-08-04052016163924 (copy) (copy)

UW-Madison students vote at the Red Gym.

PHOTO BY SAIYNA BASHIR

Democrats who represent Wisconsin in Congress are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee the state's monitoring of the November election, citing concerns with the state's voter ID law.

"Due to the law’s contentious nature and poor implementation, coupled with a political environment that is becoming increasingly intimidating, we are requesting the Department of Justice’s assistance in overseeing the state’s monitoring of the election, including by providing poll-monitoring services in Wisconsin," wrote Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Reps. Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Ron Kind in a letter sent Tuesday.

The lawmakers said they are concerned not only with potential misinformation about the law and its requirements, but also with "potential voter intimidation at the polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges 'election rigging.'"

Claims of rigged elections and a rigged political environment have been a central theme of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign over the last several weeks. 

The "poor implementation" and "misinformation" the lawmakers mentioned is an allusion to problems with the ID petition process (IDPP), which is designed to help people who don't have the proper documentation obtain IDs.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered the state to immediately provide more information to help people seeking state-issued voting credentials navigate the process.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson declined to suspend the state's voter ID law before the November election, arguing he didn't have the authority to issue a "brand new injunction" and that it might be "unwise" to make sweeping changes less than a month from Election Day.

Instead, he opted to focus on providing a "targeted remedy" to issues with the IDPP.

The liberal group One Wisconsin Institute had asked the judge to either suspend the state's voter ID law or put in place remedial measures to address issues with the IDPP.

The request came after media reports based on recordings from the advocacy group VoteRiders indicated Division of Motor Vehicles workers gave inaccurate information to people seeking IDs.

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Peterson said the state "really did nothing" in response to an order he issued in July, which required the DMV to "promptly issue a credential valid for voting, unless readily available information shows that the petitioner is not a qualified elector entitled to such a credential" to petitioners once they submit sufficient materials and to "inform the general public" of that process.

He has since approved plans from the state to help voters navigate the process.

"While further scrutiny by the federal court has prompted state officials to institute additional training and public education efforts at the DMV, there is entirely too much at stake in the limited time left before the election to let this continue without additional oversight," the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

They are asking DOJ to provide "any resources or assistance it can" to help the state navigate the voter ID process.

It will be Wisconsin's first presidential election with voter ID in place, although the law was passed in 2011. It has been tied up in court battles in the years that followed.

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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.