MADISON (WITI) — Wisconsin voters who requested absentee ballots will have to present copies of their photo identification to have those ballots counted. That's according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
"Implementing the photo voter ID law close to an election will not be easy, but the GAB and Wisconsin clerks will be up to the challenge," said Kevin Kennedy of the GAB.
The November election is less than 50 days away -- and the race for governor promises to be one of the closest in history. Experts say every vote will count -- and that's why there's such intense outcry on both sides surrounding the state's voter ID law.
A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated the photo ID requirement. But Kennedy said delaying its implementation was never an option.
"Before the 7th Circuit issued it's decision, there was a lot of discussion, a lot of effort being put in by the state -- if the stay is lifted, we want to be prepared to go. There was no direct order, GAB you shall do this, but we were planning to do this," said Kennedy.
Now, the GAB is focusing on the logistical issues surrounding the law such as training clerks and election workers.
Some 12,000 absentee ballots had already been sent out under the old law -- which did not require a photo ID. A few hundred of those have already been voted and returned.
"For those ballots that have already gone out, clerks will have to contact voters and inform them they need to submit a copy of their photo ID," said Kennedy.
Clerks were ordered to stop sending them out last Friday -- and now must mail them with a written directive to send a photocopy of a photo ID.
For everyone else, to get a ballot on election day, voters will need one of the following acceptable forms of identification:
Voter ID opponents are demanding the 7th Circuit re-hear its challenge to the law in a proceeding with all ten judges in the appeals court. Kennedy says the challenge doesn't change anything -- only a court order will.
"A lot of the issues about running elections -- and this goes to the ballot issue, are partisanly charged issues, and our job is to administer the law as it's presented to us and to take the politics out of it from an administrative standpoint," said Kennedy.