Long wait times and inconsistent rule enforcements marred some student polling locations as Wisconsin held its first presidential election with new voter ID requirements Tuesday.
— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) April 5, 2016
Vera Swanson, University of Wisconsin senior, said when she went to vote at the Lowell Center, the poll workers only asked for her proof of residence, not her ID. Swanson said she didn’t know why it happened, but felt like it wasn’t just a mistake.
“I don’t understand how someone can not be asked for their ID by a poll worker who is going through the same process with hundreds of people where that’s standard protocol,” Swanson said. “It’s hard for me to believe that this was just an accident.”
Michelle Britton, UW senior, said her ID also was not checked when she voted at the Lowell Center. She said she was frustrated that she took the time to get a voter ID, but was never even asked for it.
David Diamondstone, chief inspector at the Lowell Center, said it’s possible some students slipped through the cracks and weren’t asked for their ID. He said if it did happen, it would most likely happen for those students who had to register to vote at the polls, since the poll workers have to check the registration form, the proof of residency and the ID.
Both Swanson and Britton said they had to go through the registration process.
— Becky Blank (@BeckyBlank) April 5, 2016
Other students said the amount of time spent waiting in line to receive an ID was unacceptable. Andrew Kilger said he waited more than an hour at Gordon Dining and Event Center before he had the necessary identification to vote, and even considered not voting.
Jackie Spaight, president of Badgers for Bernie, said other students were discouraged from voting because of all the hurdles they had to go through.
“We had to explain to them you have to go to Union South, grab your ID — I know someone almost didn’t get to the polls on time because they had to get their voter ID before they could go to their polling location,” Spaight said.
Have you voted today yet? Make sure to head out to your local polling place and make your voice heard! #BadgersVote
— ASM (@asmstudentgovt) April 5, 2016
Diamondstone said the Lowell Center was chaotic earlier in the day because they were understaffed and had a heavy volume of voters.
Though most students did not run into issues when trying to vote, Diamondstone said he had to turn away a few people who came to vote because they didn’t have a proper ID.
As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Diamondstone said two had come back once they got the proper voter ID from Union South or Gordon and a few others decided to vote provisionally, meaning they could vote as long as they returned with proper ID later in the week.
Some, however, decided not to vote at all because of the ID requirement.
An additional challenge was the voter ID printer at Gordon was down this morning, causing delays for some students in obtaining IDs.
.@UWMadison the fact that the printer at Gordon Commons used to print out voter IDs for tomorrow's election is broken is unacceptable.
— Kayla Cooke (@_kaylacooke) April 4, 2016
Some students were sent to Union South instead to get their IDs. UW confirmed on their Twitter account at 2:51 p.m. the issue was resolved and the printer was back online.
— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) April 4, 2016
Overall, wards 54 through 58, which encompass most of campus, saw a combined voter turnout of more than 6,000, according to the Dane County Clerk’s Office.
Teymour Tomsyck contributed reporting to this article.