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GOP raises concerns over guidance on voter ID ahead of spring election

NOW: GOP raises concerns over guidance on voter ID ahead of spring election

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – As the spring election approaches, officials are trying to make voting accessible to those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and Governor Evers’ stay at home orders. But some have raised concerns over some of the actions taken by officials.

This week county clerks from Milwaukee and Dane Counties offered guidance to municipalities regarding voters who may be especially impacted by stay at home orders. The guidance outlined to municipalities that voters who may be ill, elderly, have disabilities or are quarantined because of the COVID-19 outbreak can declare themselves ‘indefinitely confined’ when trying to vote by absentee ballot and therefore not needing to upload a valid photo ID to comply with voter ID laws.

The guidance aims to address concerns of people who do not have access to technology or assistance to upload a valid photo ID when trying to request an absentee ballot online.

But the Republican Party of Wisconsin claims this guidance is an attempt to bypass voter ID laws.

“My concern is that they’re offering basically carte blanche or broad guidance that because of coronavirus, everybody is indefinitely confined,” said Andrew Hitt, the chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

“The issue is not whether this applies to someone who has coronavirus,” Hitt added. “The issue is giving this broad instruction out to everybody that basically says, ‘Hey you don’t have to submit your photo id anymore because you’re indefinitely confined.’”

But Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson, who is one of the clerks who issued the guidance, disagrees.

“We felt people needed to make sure that they had all the knowledge of what their options were under state law,” Christenson told CBS 58 in a phone interview.

Christenson added that the accusation that the guidance is an effort to help bypassing voter ID laws is incorrect.

“If he is saying or is trying to accuse senior citizens or individuals with disabilities that they’re trying to fraud the voter id laws, then, well, he’s got to take a long look in the mirror,” Christenson said of Hitt’s claims.

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