Friday's editorial on Ald. Zach Brandon's ordinance in favor of restrictions on election workers in the City Clerk's office did not mention that it would also include poll workers. I think poll workers should be deleted from the ordinance.
Alerting a thousand poll workers and helping them understand the law will be an administrative burden.
Poll workers operate out in the open in Wisconsin, where we have the right to observe all actions in the polling place as long as we are not disruptive.
State statutes give the two major parties the right to name poll workers, regardless of how involved they are in campaigns. The only exception is if their name is on the ballot.
The situation that precipitated the ordinance introduction was not with poll workers, but in the clerk's office. This should be referred to the Election Advisory Committee for further review.
- Paul Malischke, Madison
\ Election ordinance misdirected
"The city should at least make it clear that core campaign participants cannot double as election referees." Assuming the State Journal believes this line from its Friday editorial, it should have called for defeat of Ald. Zach Brandon's misnamed "impartial elections" ordinance.
The ordinance is a solution in search of a problem. It fails to cover most of the people supposedly interested in tampering with our local elections. The loopholes are so many that the ordinance will actually backfire.
The ordinance doesn't cover political staff, nor the people most involved in campaigns - the managers, volunteer coordinators, data managers, contributors and others tied directly to candidates. The few people it covers can easily skirt the proposed law by officially "resigning" their positions in political organizations and instead working behind the scenes.
Further, the ordinance fails to recognize the legal and administrative checks and balances already in place, threatens to remove good-hearted and dedicated people from the too-small pool of poll workers, and casts a shadow of mistrust over people simply trying to exercise the civic duty of ensuring that people can vote.
This ordinance will not only fail to address some vague concern about whether our elections are impartial, it will likely do more to conceal the people who are involved in campaigns. It should be voted down, and Brandon and the State Journal should focus on true reforms that address actual problems in local elections.
- Michael Jacob, Progressive Dane's Elections Committee (and not covered by the ordinance)