MADISON, Wis. - State Department of Transportation officials are telling lawmakers they've stepped up training for staffers amid allegations some employees have been giving out inaccurate information to people seeking photo ID application receipts for voting.
DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb told the Legislature's rules committee on Tuesday that beginning that day the agency has created new online training for staff and supervisors have been told to have one-on-one conversations with each employee about protocols by Friday.
The agency also plans to issue each applicant a document that shows them what the receipt will look like when it arrives in the mail.
Democrats on the committee questioned how they can trust the process. Gottlieb said only that he believes the process is sound.
DOT regulations require the agency to issue receipts valid for voting to anyone who begins the process of obtaining a state photo ID.
Recordings reveal workers give bad information about IDs
Newly released recordings from seven Division of Motor Vehicles offices across Wisconsin reveal workers giving inaccurate information about the availability of IDs for voting.
The recordings come after a federal judge ordered the state to investigate whether DMV workers are failing to issue temporary photo identification for voting, as promised.
On the recordings, one DMV worker in Hudson told a person asking for an ID that she's not guaranteed to get one. That conflicts with the attorney general's office who has said in court filings that DMV workers have been trained to tell people they will get credentials for voting within six days.
The new recordings were provided to The Associated Press by a campaign coordinator for the national group VoteRiders. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the recordings.
Panel extends voting receipt regulations
The Legislature's rules committee has extended regulations allowing people who lack identifying documentation to obtain voting credentials through the November election.
The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted 4-3 on Tuesday to extend the regulations for 60 days. They were set to expire on Sunday.
The Department of Transportation adopted regulations in May allowing people who want photo IDs to vote but lack the underlying supporting documents such as a birth certificate to get a receipt valid for voting within six days of applying.
Allegations have surfaced in the last few days that DOT officials have been providing would-be applicants with inaccurate information about the process, prompting a federal judge to order the agency to investigate.
All three Democrats on the rules committee voted against the extension, saying the DOT's process isn't working.
Attorneys ask court to block voter ID law
Attorneys for a liberal advocacy group have asked a federal judge to put Wisconsin's voter ID law on hold for next month's election unless the state can immediately improve its process for giving credentials to people lacking key documents.
Attorneys for One Wisconsin Institute say in a filing made Tuesday in U.S. District Court that audio recordings made at Division of Motor Vehicles offices across the state show would-be voters are being giving inaccurate and misleading information.
The motion cites recordings revealing DMV workers in multiple locations across Wisconsin giving inaccurate information about the availability of credentials that would allow them to cast a ballot.
The legal filing came hours after the head of the state Department of Transportation tried to reassure lawmakers that front-line workers would receive additional training with the election just five weeks away.
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