Precinct 333

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Signs Of Election Fraud Ignored

Wisconsin law requires that all same day voter registrations be verified by post card after the election. Those that cannot be verified (such as postcards returned) are to be turned over to the local prosecutor for investigation and possible prosecution.

That hasn’t been going on in Milwaukee (10,000 unverifiable registrations) and much of the rest of the state following John Kerry’s razor-thin victory in that state.

In the wake of Milwaukee's inability to send confirmation cards to some 10,000 newly registered voters, a Journal Sentinel review suggests that a little-discussed - but key - safeguard in election law is not routinely followed.

The provision requires that any confirmation cards that the U.S. Postal Service cannot deliver be sent to the local district attorney's office for investigation for possible fraud.

District attorneys from around the state said Wednesday, however, that they receive few such referrals - and some did not know it was a requirement. And some cities, including Racine, don't send out confirmation cards at all.

Meanwhile, some clerks have complained to state election officials that the returned cards they do submit are not investigated by authorities.

"People need to follow the statutes," said state Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), who expressed dismay at the findings. "This is a process we have established to ensure the integrity of our election."

The situation came to light after revelations that in Milwaukee, more than 10,000 confirmation cards - out of an estimated 84,000 voters who registered on election day - could not be processed.

Milwaukee officials have said the number is comparable to that of the 2000 presidential election, and that the cards may be illegible, missing some required information or duplicates of ones filled out earlier.

The Journal Sentinel has submitted an open records request seeking access to the cards, which officials say contain some private information that must be redacted first.

The election problem is the latest for the city. Among the others: registration cards that were not recorded before election day; absentee ballot requests that were not filled; and 238 absentee ballots that were not delivered to the polls in time to be counted.

And that is just the Milwaukee situation. Some counties aren’t sure what to do, and others ignore this legal requirement.

· In Ozaukee County, District Attorney Sandy Williams said her office does not become involved in voter fraud investigations, and an office administrator reported that she had never seen any of the returned cards in the several years she has worked there.

· In Racine County, District Attorney Michael Nieskes said that his office had not received any returned confirmation cards and it's unlikely that it would.

· In Waukesha County, District Attorney Paul Bucher said he was not aware of his office receiving any returned confirmation cards. If it does, Bucher said, he would investigate.

· In La Crosse, City Clerk Teri Lehrke said, "I don't believe we have ever sent any of those to the DA's office. We usually take them out of the system if they come back non-deliverable."

· In Eau Claire County, District Attorney Rich White said he didn't know anything about rules regarding the verification cards and hasn't seen or heard of any of them. "Unlike some places, I'm not sure that Eau Claire County is a potential hotbed for a lot of election fraud," he said.

· In Brown County, which includes Green Bay, District Attorney John P. Zakowski, said he hadn't seen any voter cards returned to his office.

· In Marathon County, Wausau doesn't send out the cards. "When they register (at the polls), they are signing something swearing they are who they say they are and are qualified to vote," said Mary Goede, deputy city clerk.

· In Richland County, Richland Center does not send out verification cards. And District Attorney Andrew Sharp said sending out verification cards in a rural county would be "silly," because "everyone in the county knows everybody, so that (voter fraud) couldn't happen here."

Democrat activists have not yet sought to question the flaws in the Wisconsin elections system that leave open the possibility of voter fraud. Could that be because Wisconsin was a blue state in both 2000 and 2004, and the margin of victory for John Kerry is significantly below the number of unverifiable votes?


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.