CALEDONIA — Three Racine women can now register voters in the Village of Caledonia, after two of them filed complaints with state’s Government Accountability Board regarding Village Clerk Karie Torkilsen's initial refusal to certify them as special registration deputies.
The women, Jane Witt, Nikki Aiello and Kathleen Laru, were sworn in by Torkilsen on Friday morning.
Under state law, any voter can register fellow citizens to vote as long as they have been sworn in as a special registration deputy. To become a deputy residents must receive special training. Up until last year a citizen could receive that training through the GAB, which would then certify them to register voters throughout the state.
In May, state lawmakers signed the Voter Photo ID Law, which shifted the job of training and certifying deputies to municipal clerks.
Witt and Laru filed complaints against Torkilsen after seeing a letter from the GAB that said an elector may file a complaint against a clerk who refuses to train them to be a deputy or appoint them to be a deputy.
Torkilsen has said that she only refused to certify the three women because she needed more time to figure out her responsibilities when it comes to the new law.
Correction: This story incorrectly described complaints two Racine women filed with the state’s Government Accountability Board against Caledonia Village Clerk Karie Torkilsen. In her complaint, Jane Witt reported that Torkilsen refused to deputize her to register voters in the village. Kathleen Laru stated in her complaint that she felt Torkilsen abused her discretion with respect to the appointment of special registration deputies when she refused to certify Laru to register voters in the village. The complaints did not allege a violation of state law. The error has been corrected.