For the first time in history, Wisconsin residents were permitted to show proof of residency with their smartphones and tablets while registering for the presidential election Tuesday.
The State of Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board unanimously approved the decision to allow electronic documents on Election Day, according to Analiese Eicher, government relations director at United Council of University of Wisconsin Students. She described the decision as a good one, since the documents provided through electronic means show the same information as a paper form would.
“We are a technology-minded generation, so much of what we do is online,” Eicher said. “Students are benefiting from this.”
Electronic documents can be shown through smartphones, laptops and tablets at polling places across Wisconsin.
Eicher said she had received several reports of voters using electronic documentation to register throughout the day.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, worked as an election official at the Gordon Commons polling site and said many of the election officials checking proof of residency brought their laptops to assist with registering voters. He noted the process worked well and sped lines up significantly.
“It’s a wonderful option,” Verveer said. “It keeps up with the times and it is more convenient.”
Dan Hudson, an election official at Gordon Commons tasked with checking proof of residency, noted most students registering at Gordon used laptops provided by poll workers and agreed the process proved to be efficient.
“It’s just easier to use the laptop,” Hudson said.
Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, noted several people voting in the summer gubernatorial recall election were able to provide proof of residency on their phones, but did not have the documents in paper form, and were thus unable to register. These people were particularly in student districts, she said.
Kaminski added the new rule is especially advantageous to people who receive bills electronically.
Election officials noted few complaints concerning electronic documents. Most complaints centered on slow internet connections at the polling places.