Lassa Statement on Voter System Crash

Failure affected early voting, voter registration, obtaining IDs


Madison –State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to news that problems with the state government computer network were impacting people’s ability to register and vote:

“Today’s computer malfunction clearly demonstrates the impact of the laws Republicans have passed in recent years to make it harder for eligible Wisconsin citizens to vote.  For half the day Friday, problems with the state computer network, managed by the Department of Administration, prevented individuals from getting drivers licenses and photo ID documents that are now required to be able to vote.  The malfunction also created long delays in enabling individuals to register to vote or cast absentee ballots at municipal clerks’ offices during the final day of early voting before the election, and shut down the Government Accountability Board’s voter information website.  I expect a detailed explanation from the DOA about how this could have happened, and how they will prevent it in the future.  Regardless, the outcome is yet another hurdle for people who only want to exercise their right to vote and have a say in their government.

“This has occurred within days of an election which the GAB is forecasting will see the highest voter turnout for a spring primary in decades.  Municipal clerks rely on the computer system to issue absentee ballots used in early voting.  People in rural areas, where DMV offices are few and far between, may not be able to return to those offices to get the documents they need to vote. 

“I have joined a number of my colleagues to call on Governor Walker to take immediate executive action to  open DMV offices for extended hours throughout the weekend and on Monday to make up for their inability to issue ID documents today.  Municipal clerks’ offices should be enabled to have extended hours to make up for their inability register voters and process absentee ballots today.

“I hope the Republican majority in the Legislature will learn from this failure that the most basic right of citizenship is too important to entrust to a government computer.  We must repeal those politically motivated election laws that have been passed since 2011 that have limited the ability of eligible Wisconsin citizens to register and vote.”