MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board will meet on Thursday, December 17 in the State Capitol, a change from its previously-announced schedule.
In order to handle an expected large audience for public comment on the Early Voting Final Draft Report and Recommendations, the Board will meet in the State Capitol’s North Hearing Room, located on the Second Floor. (This is a different room than originally announced in November, due to newly-scheduled Legislative business.) The Capitol location will also allow Wisconsin Eye to broadcast the meeting live on cable television and the Internet.
The original meeting date of December 14 has been changed to December 17, and the order of the meeting has also been re-arranged. The Board will start its meeting at 8:30 a.m. and go into closed session in Room 300 Northeast, and expects to reconvene in open session around 10 a.m. in the North Hearing Room. Staff plans for the Board to deal with routine matters and vote on the certification of election equipment (held over from the November meeting) before breaking for lunch about 12:30 p.m.
At 1 p.m., the Board will begin taking public comments on the Early Voting Final Draft Report and Recommendations, followed by deliberations and a vote.
“We have made every effort to encourage public comments on our Early Voting study,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel. “The Final Draft Report has been available on our web site since November 6, and we have received many thoughtful written public comments on it. We encourage people to read the report and give the Board their comments at the December 17 meeting.”
The Final Draft Report and background materials are available online at http://elections.state.wi.us/section.asp?linkid=1583&locid=47. The deadline for written comments to be included in the report to the Board was Monday, November 30.
The Final Draft Report recommends making changes to streamline Wisconsin’s in-person absentee voting procedures designed to make it easier for municipal clerks to handle the growing numbers of voters who want or need to vote before Election Day.
The report recommends against making sweeping changes that would have placed additional financial burdens on municipal clerks, based on feedback received at listening sessions held across the state over the summer.
“The Final Draft Report recognizes that a one-size-fits-all early voting system would have imposed a hardship on many municipal clerks,” said Nathaniel E. Robinson, Elections Division administrator. “Many clerks are part time public servants who work out of small town halls or their own homes. They are not equipped or funded to be open eight hours a day in the weeks before an election.”
The meeting agenda has not yet been finalized. It will be posted to the Board’s web site as soon as it is available.