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GAB votes down allowing poll watchers to use cameras

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin elections panel has said no to letting poll observers photograph voters.

The Government Accountability Board voted 4-2 Monday to uphold a previous ban on observers taking pictures of voters -- including themselves and their relatives.

The updated rule was sent to the Legislature -- but lawmakers won't be able to change it until next year, which means the photo ban will stay in place for at least the August 12th primaries and the November 4th general elections.

Board members Tim Vocke and Harold Froelich favored removing the provision temporarily, to see if cameras could be used responsibly in the primaries set for three weeks from Tuesday.

Partisan observers say they want to make sure the elections are run honestly.

Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler told the board that allowing observers to use cameras would make voters uncomfortable -- and the last thing she wants is a hostile environment.

Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill letting observers get as close as 3 feet to the tables where voters check in.

Board Secretary Kevin Kennedy said a photo ban is needed, in part, to make sure observers don't use zoom lenses to see how people fill out their ballots.

Also Monday, the board voted to require election observers show photo ID's before they can claim their spots at the polls.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)