After hearing more and more reports of election observers intimidating voters, a top Wisconsin Government Accountability Board official has warned that no more disruptions will be tolerated.
"In recent elections, the GAB has received an increasing number of reports describing aggressive or disruptive behavior by a minority of observers," election division administrator Nathaniel Robinson wrote in an Aug. 10 letter. "...behavior that is disruptive, including conversing with or intimidating voters, or questioning election inspectors other than the chief inspector, will not be tolerated."
Robinson didn't specify any group of observers, but a League of Women Voters of Wisconsin report on the June 5 recall found "some polling sites had election observers who intimidated voters and interfered with the registration process.
Observers exerted more influence at sites with "new or uncertain" chief inspectors, the report said, while there were reports from Racine, Milwaukee and La Crosse of voters leaving the polling place without voting. In Milwaukee, an observer "sent people away when an observer said the person looked too young to vote," the report said.
Robinson said in his letter that observers may call the Government Accountability Board if they see problems that the chief inspector doesn't remedy. Observers are forbidden to be loud or boisterous and they aren't allowed to talk to other poll workers or to voters, Robinson said.