Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004

 

Acknowledgements


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Please select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that means there is no content for that state yet).

WISCONSIN

12/14/04 [Permalink]
238 absentee ballots uncounted in Wisconsin

Via reader LV, an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

They say every vote counts - except for the 238 absentee ballots still sitting in election chief Lisa Artison's City Hall office.

But finding out who's to blame for this election day snafu is quickly becoming another political whodunit.

Artison, the embattled appointee of Mayor Tom Barrett, confirmed this week that a couple of hundred absentee ballots failed to make it to the proper polling place in time to be counted on Nov. 2.

The voters did their job by mailing in the ballots before the election, but somebody on the city payroll dropped the ball. Per state law, Artison said, the uncounted ballots are in storage and soon will be destroyed.

"We're not happy with the fact that ballots did not get out in time," Artison said.

Not that these votes would have tipped the election - U.S. Sen. John Kerry carried Wisconsin by 11,000-plus votes - but neither Artison nor anybody else knew that at the time.

Like any mystery, this one will take some time to unravel. This is what we've been able to piece together so far:

About 6 p.m. on the hectic election day, Pat Curley, Barrett's chief of staff, wandered upstairs in City Hall to check on the happenings in the Election Commission's offices.

Realizing that absentee ballots must be delivered to polling places before voting ended at 8 p.m., Curley said, he asked whether that had been done. Told that there were thousands of completed ballots still sitting at City Hall, Curley raised questions about how they could be delivered on time, he said.

"Some staff person said, 'You know, the police used to help us with that,' " Curley recalled Wednesday.

He quickly dialed up Chief Nannette Hegerty, who dispatched eight cops in four squads to serve as delivery boys.

Artison said her plan was to have staffers deliver the ballots, which she said numbered a few thousand. She said Curley decided instead to make it a police matter.

Asked why Curley took charge on an election matter, she initially responded with silence. In a second interview, she remained a woman of few words on this subject.

"It was not our plan to have them delivered that way," Artison said. "The decision was made to call (police), and he called them."

The cops did their duty and delivered all of the boxes of ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline, said Sgt. Ken Henning. No ballots, he said, were returned to City Hall.

"The officers did not go to other assignments, except to drop them off," Henning said.

So, you may be wondering, why are there 238 uncounted absentee ballots still sitting in Artison's office?

Artison contends the cops failed to deliver all of the ballots and returned a couple of hundred to her office.

"The ballots left the building, and the ballots came back," Artison said. "Certainly, I'm not pleased with that."

Henning, however, stood firm and repeated that the police did not return a single absentee ballot to Artison's crew. "All the stuff officers were given, they delivered," he said.

Told what Artison said, Henning asserted, "It's typical to blame somebody else for your problems."
...

11/2/04_2 [Permalink]
Voters in Democrat-rich counties in Wisconsin falsely told they cannot register on Election Day

Via TNR, here an incident report:

And state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said her office has received reports that voters in the predominately Democratic cities of Kenosha and Racine were told by poll observers that same-day registration is not allowed. In fact, in Wisconsin, it is.

"I want to remind all eligible Wisconsin citizens they have the right under Wisconsin law to register at the polls and vote today," she said. "Voters who are in line to vote by 8 p.m. when polls close must be allowed to cast a ballot, regardless of how long the line is when they arrive."

In Madison, the Democratic county treasurer, Dave Gawenda, reports that his wife Gail was ordered by a Republican poll watcher to remove her "Kerry" button. Gawenda, who was present, tells what's wrong with this picture: "First of all, poll 'watchers,' as opposed to workers, aren't supposed to talk to voters. In addition, he obviously didn't know the rules. I told him firmly that if he had a cell phone, we'd call the city clerk right then and there. An experienced poll worker told him it was all right. I don't want to make this sound like Gail was being intimidated, but she felt offended this guy was trying to tell her what to do."

 

11/2/04 [Permalink]
Wisconsin GOP's GOTV-vans' tires slashed; fake letter mimicking RNC letterhead sent to some voters claiming that the Party chairman has endorsed John Kerry

Via Voters Unite, an outrageous incident reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

In Milwaukee, the tires of 30 vans Republicans had rented to help get out the vote were slashed. GOP spokesman Chris Lato said it was not clear who was responsible.

Via Voter's Digest, we have this report in the Palm Beach Post:

Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke, responding to the civil rights groups, offered his party's list of grievances.
...
A faked letter purportedly from the Republican National Committee has gone out to Wisconsin voters saying the party's chairman has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

 

11/1/04 [Permalink]
Dirty Tricks in Wisconsin: Fraudulent callers claiming to be from NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin (which has endorsed Kerry) urge voters to vote for Bush. Called ID shows NARAL's number and a criminal investigation has begun.

Rumblelizard at Dailykos reports:

Breaking: I just received this email from NARAL-Wisconsin:

ANTI-CHOICE FORCES ILLEGALLY USE NARAL PRO-CHOICE WISCONSIN'S NAME
Bush Supporters Resort to Fraud in Effort to Confuse Voters

Madison, WI - NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin filed a police report this morning, after receiving reports of illegal use of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin's name and phone number.  The Madison Police Department as well as the fraud department of the group's telephone carrier are investigating.

Several individuals alerted the organization after receiving robotic telephone messages urging them to vote for George W. Bush because of his anti-reproductive health policies.  NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and its national partner, NARAL Pro-Choice America, work to protect women's reproductive rights and privacy, and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care for women and families.  Both groups have endorsed Sen. John Kerry for President because of his strong record fighting for women's health and equality.  

The messages contained a disclaimer stating that it had been paid for by "NARAL."  It then listed NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin's phone number to call for more information.  

Individuals reported that their caller ID display showed NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin's name and main office number.  It is unclear whether the calls were made by breaking into NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin's phone system or by using software to create a false caller ID display.  Either would constitute a violation of federal law.  

"This is very troubling - apparently, anti-choice forces will stop at nothing - even breaking the law - to aid George Bush in his war against women's health.  We will seek to prosecute the perpetrators of this fraud to the full extent of the law," said Kelda Helen Roys, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, and an attorney.  

Anyone with information or who received a call is urged to save the message and document as much information about the call as possible, and call NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin immediately at (608) 287-0016, extension 3.

 

10/31/04 [Permalink] UPDATED 11/2/04
Wisconsin GOP intensifies vote suppression efforts using more than 37000 last-minute vote challenges based on supposedly invalid voter addresses - even though their first batch of alleged "incorrect" addresses had hundreds that were correct

Reader HR sent in this article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which covered the GOP's first challenge (bold text is my emphasis):

Amid a renewed push Friday by Republicans to get some 5,600 names removed from Milwaukee voting lists, prosecutors began examining 500 new registrants that a city review indicated are from non-existent addresses.

The same review by the city attorney's office, however, raised doubts about the quality of the GOP's original list, finding that hundreds of the addresses that the Republicans claim are invalid and want removed do, in fact, exist. Some others, according to City Attorney Grant Langley, can be explained by data entry errors, not attempted fraud.

Meanwhile, city and state officials are working this weekend to establish a safeguard system that will - by Tuesday - highlight any addresses still in question.

The one certainty: Many Milwaukee voters will face extra scrutiny by poll workers, who are already expecting an intense crush of voters.

The Republicans are unlikely, however, to get the remedy they sought Friday from the state Election Board - the wholesale striking of 5,619 names from the rolls.
...
Late Friday, Langley outlined the review situation in a letter to Lisa Artison, head of the city Election Commission.

The letter said the review by his staff and the district attorney's office found cases where the database used by the GOP was corrupted, dropping digits on some homes so otherwise valid addresses showed up as non-existent.

In other cases, a check of the original handwritten registration cards showed digits had been transposed by clerks, something that can be corrected at the polls.

Langley's letter says the review casts "doubt on the overall accuracy" of the GOP list and the way it was compiled.

At least some of the addresses will be investigated for possible fraud, however.

The letter notes the DA's office decided to focus its efforts on names on the GOP list who registered since the April 6 election. There are about 900 new registrants among the 5,600 questioned addresses.

The city review showed about 400 of those names are from addresses that do exist.

That leaves about 500 to be reviewed. It is unclear whether any review will be complete by Tuesday. Those addresses will be included in an under-development list of ones the city feels should be flagged, with anyone claiming them required to show identification.
...
The state GOP challenged the 5,619 addresses on Wednesday, three minutes before the deadline. On Thursday, during a special meeting, the city Election Commission - two Democrats and one Republican - voted 3-0 to deny the request, saying the party had not sufficiently made its case.
...
Langley, like Mayor Tom Barrett, acknowledges there are non-existent or suspect addresses on the GOP list. But they say it is due to many factors, not a case of massive voter fraud as some have intimated.

The Republicans have not said how many votes had been cast from the 5,619 addresses in recent elections. Of the 34 non-existent addresses it verified and photographed, nine showed recent votes.

In its appeal, the party makes its own address blunder. It lists the address of the city Election Commission as 901 N. 9th St. That address is for the Milwaukee County Courthouse - not City Hall.

Lato acknowledged human error may be a factor in the bad addresses but noted they are an invitation for fraud: "As long as they're on the list, somebody can vote from them."

While the Republicans cited a Journal Sentinel review that attempted to locate 74 addresses and found 68 of them did not exist, Democrats cited the same review that showed in some cases clerical errors - such as transposed digits - appeared to be at fault.
...
Republicans did a similar computer check for bad addresses in Racine, Appleton, Madison and Green Bay. They did not file any complaints elsewhere, however.

Via reader HR, here is an update from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on the second batch of ultra-last minute vote challenges from the GOP (bold text is my emphasis):

Citing a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, the state Republican Party demanded Saturday that Milwaukee city officials require identification from all of those voters Tuesday.

If the city doesn't, the party says it is prepared to have volunteers challenge each individual - including thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration - at the polls.

The move, which dramatically escalates the party's claims of bad addresses and potential fraud, was condemned by Democrats as a last-minute effort to suppress turnout in the city by creating long delays at the polls.

City officials, who already were trying to establish safeguards in response to the party's claim of 5,619 bad addresses, were surprised by the 37,180 number, nearly seven times larger.

"It's not a leap at all to say the potential for voter fraud is high in the city, and the integrity of the entire election, frankly, is at stake," said Rick Graber, state GOP chairman. "The city's records are in horrible shape."

Any inaccurate address, he said, is an opening for someone to cast a fraudulent vote. However, many of the new addresses now cited might be eligible voters who have voted for years without problems.

City Attorney Grant Langley labeled the GOP request "outrageous."

"We have already uncovered hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of addresses on their (original list) that do exist," said Langley, who holds a non-partisan office. "Why should I take their word for the fact this new list is good? I'm out of the politics on this, but this is purely political."
...
The initial GOP challenge, which was dismissed 3-0 by the city Election Commission last week, cited thousands of cases where no voter address exists, such as vacant lots and, in one case, a gyros stand.

It was the result of using a computer to compare the city's list of 386,526 registered voters to a U.S. Postal Service list of known addresses.

The same list generated about 13,300 cases where incorrect apartment numbers were listed, and some 18,200 more cases where no apartment number was listed for an existing building. However, the party didn't include any of those in its original challenge, filed three minutes before the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline.

Legally, neither the city nor the state Elections Board is required to consider any of the newly identified addresses by Tuesday.

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Graber acknowledged the party is asking local officials, including the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, to voluntarily take the step as the right thing to do.

Asked why the party was not asking other communities to take the same voluntary precautions and computer check their lists before Tuesday, Graber said the Milwaukee voter list is a "mess" and cause for great alarm.

"You mean why aren't we doing this in Wausau?" he said. "We certainly could."

After a pause, he added: "And perhaps should."

Democrats say the effort is designed to give the impression it will be difficult to vote in Milwaukee, in hopes of giving an advantage to President Bush over Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

"There's a real disturbing pattern of them making these charges in Wisconsin and in Ohio," said George Twigg, state spokesman for the Kerry campaign. "It's disappointing that they're continuing to beat this dead horse when they've already been proven wrong."

Democrats intend to have a full force of lawyers at polling places to protect the rights of voters, not just in the city but throughout the state, he said.
...
The new addresses offered Saturday by Republicans muddied an already complicated matter and could slow down attempts under way to institute safeguards on the initial list.

In conjunction with the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, the city attorney's office began reviewing the 5,619 names Friday. It found many cases where an address does not exist but also hundreds where it believes an address does exist.

The Journal Sentinel reviewed 74 of the addresses on the original list and found 68 of those do not exist. Others, though, were likely to be clerical errors.

Citing its expanded list, the GOP argues any address deficiency, such as no apartment number listed, constitutes an invalid registration.

Langley said he is not prepared to try to review more than 37,000 addresses by Monday, which would be necessary in order to be confident any "watch" lists given to poll workers do not include any valid addresses.

"Here we are Saturday night at 5 p.m., and they're going to drop 37,000 names on me?" Langley said. "There has got to be a deadline for a reason."

Graber said the city or district attorney's office could use the same method and generate its own list in about three hours. However, the same process would yield the same names. Langley is questioning the quality of approach, based on problems already found in the GOP's original list.

Lisa Artison, head of the city Election Commission, said she takes any challenge or claim of fraud seriously.

"We're all very concerned about the timing of this newest development," she said, declining further comment.

Critics said the late maneuver is a transparent effort to generate publicity and cast an unwarranted shadow over city voters, a majority of whom are expected to vote Democratic.

"People certainly can come to their own conclusions," said Martha Love, chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party, noting a similar review was not done for Republican areas such as Bayside. "But if it's not voter intimidation or suppression, then what's the point?"

Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the state Elections Board, has been working with the city on the 5,619 addresses to put safeguards in place that would flag questionable addresses.

"The concern the board has is the pall it casts over the process," he said Saturday.

Langley indicated Friday the district attorney's office was reviewing about 500 new voter registrations that appear to be from non-existent addresses.

Via Buzzflash, an article in the Post-Crescent:

 A review by the city attorney’s office has found that hundreds of addresses the state Republican Party claimed were incorrect or nonexistent do exist.

Milwaukee elections officials earlier this week voted 3-0 to reject a GOP complaint seeking to eliminate 5,619 people from voter registration lists. The party appealed Friday to the state Elections Board, asking it to intervene and remove the names.

State Republican Party spokesman Chris Lato said allowing votes from those addresses would amount to fraud. He said the party found more bad addresses on Friday and questioned the notion that the list had significant problems.

“Nobody is disputing the vast majority of these are bad addresses,” Lato said.

But Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley said in a letter to city election commission executive director Lisa Artison that a review by his staff and the district attorney’s office found cases where the party’s database was corrupted and had dropped digits on some homes, so otherwise valid addresses showed up as nonexistent.

Langley’s letter said the review casts “doubt on the overall accuracy” of the GOP list and the way it was compiled.

At least some of the addresses will be investigated for fraud. Langley said the DA’s office is focusing on about 900 names on the GOP list who registered since the April 6 election.

Via Voter's Digest, here's an update from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Republican and City of Milwaukee leaders reached an agreement Sunday ending a faceoff over thousands of registered voters with questionable addresses.

Under the agreement, a list of 5,512 prospective city voters whose addresses are questionable will be distributed to polling places.

Those on the list who show up to vote will be asked to fill out a change of address card or registration form, and to show proof of residency - a driver's license, utility bill or some other document showing an address - before casting their ballot.

Anyone without proof of residency at an address on the list will have to take an oath, and that person's ballot will be marked as being challenged by the poll worker.

The agreement ends a dispute between the Republican Party of Wisconsin and Milwaukee city officials, who last week denied the GOP's petition to throw out 5,619 names.

Republicans on Saturday came up with a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, and they demanded that Milwaukee city officials require identification from that large number of voters before they would be allowed to cast ballots.

City Attorney Grant Langley had called that request "outrageous." He said a check of the original list of 5,619 registrations had found "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of legitimate addresses.

In the agreement, the city will use a list of only 5,512 names, not the list of 37,000.

Republican Party Chairman Rick Graber said the agreement will offer another layer of protection to assure that fraudulently cast votes won't be counted.

"With today's announcement, Milwaukee city officials are acknowledging a substantial problem exists with thousands of faulty or non-existent addresses currently found on the city's voter registration rolls and they are beginning to deal with it," Graber said in a statement.

List alphabetical, by ward

Langley said city elections officials decided the list of 5,512 was something they could handle and distribute to poll workers. Prospective voters on the list will be identified by ward and in alphabetical order.

"No, we're not disappointed. I think it's workable," Langley said. "With this agreement, it really allows our poll workers to deal with this list. In all likelihood, there will be no need for outside challenges by individuals."

One day after Republicans filed the complaint over 5,619 registrations last week, the three-member city Election Commission unanimously denied it, saying the evidence wasn't strong enough.

So the Republicans again ran the list of addresses of more than 300,000 people registered to vote in the city using a software program also used by the U.S. Postal Service and determined that 5,512 were questionable. That meant, the GOP said, the addresses didn't exist or were parks, vacant lots or spots between two houses.

State Elections Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy said even though the Milwaukee Election Commission denied the GOP's petition, city officials were intent on taking some action to lessen the perception that Milwaukee's voter rolls were rife with fraud.

"Our sense was we wanted to get away from any widespread perception of fraud," Kennedy said Sunday. "One way to do that was to set up a system that if the voters came to the polling place we'd have a way to check their address."

In many cases, Kennedy said, the addresses are questionable because of a data entry error - someone transposed numbers while keying them in to the computer system.

Even though Republicans backed off on the list of 37,000, Graber said the party reserves the right to challenge anything fishy on election day. More than 10,000 Republicans have volunteered to be observers at polling places in Wisconsin.

Langley said this is how the list of 5,512 will be used on election day:

  • If a voter on the list goes to a polling place and identifies his or her address as being one of those that the GOP list says doesn't exist, that person will have to fill out a change of address form or, in some circumstances, another voter registration form.
  • The voter will have to show a proof of residency, such as a utility bill or lease.
  • If the voter insists that he or she lives at the exact address the GOP says doesn't exist, the person can still vote, but the vote will be challenged by a poll worker. That means the voter will be given an oath by the poll worker and asked to say name and address.
  • Challenged votes will be counted but will be marked as challenged.

 

10/30/04 [Permalink]
College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin and Congressional GOP candidate keep up the rich tradition of their national counterparts by distributing flyer to students with wrong voting information; they have since apologized for the "honest error"

Via reader TK, we have this report in the Capital Times:

UW-Madison students in six residence halls received misleading information this week about how to vote, triggering allegations of dirty tricks.

The Dave Magnum for Congress campaign and the College Republicans took responsibility and apologized for the mailing Friday evening, insisting it was an honest error.

But a progressive group called it a deliberate attempt to confuse student voters. And University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, saying he was concerned that students might not know where to vote, had e-mails sent to all students Friday afternoon containing correct information.

A flier carrying a photo of Magnum, the 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate, urged students to "vote at the polling place of your choice." It was mailed to students in numerous residence halls, university spokesman John Lucas said. The flier listed five locations on campus where students could "choose" to vote.

But in reality, each student is eligible to vote in only one place. Each residence hall is assigned to a specific polling station.

The flier said at the top "Students for Magnum," and at the bottom, "Authorized and paid for by College Republicans."

Adam Peer, campaign manager for Magnum for Congress, said Friday night he and his organization take responsibility for the mailing but called it an honest error.

Peer said the College Republicans were not responsible for the flier.

He said his group had done what it could to pull back the fliers, and was preparing to distribute new ones at UW-Madison and two schools that didn't get the first flier, UW-Whitewater and Beloit College.

"There's no malicious intent, no evil afoot," Peer said, adding that the purpose of the mailing was to encourage students to vote. The campaign generates a lot of printed material, he said. "It was an oversight on my part. I should have been more diligent. I'm the campaign director, and the buck stops with me."

Magnum's opponent, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, issued a statement noting that distribution of incorrect voting information could be grounds for prosecution.

"This is either a case of utter incompetence or a purposeful effort to mislead voters on campus," Baldwin said.

Meanwhile, a past president of the College Republicans told university officials that the group was responsible for the flier, apologized, and said it was an honest mistake, said Lori Berquam, associate dean of students.

Two officials with the College Republicans did not return phone calls from The Capital Times seeking comment.

"They're making amends," Berquam said. "They're pulling down the posters, working together to get a new flier. That's what he said. They were certainly trying to rectify the situation."

Eric Phillips, a spokesman for the progressive group America Coming Together, said he doesn't buy the apologies.

"It's pretty ridiculous. It's a pretty blatant attempt to disorient and confuse student voters. It's pretty sickening; these are college kids putting this stuff out and suppressing their peers and their colleagues," Phillips said in an interview.

"They might apologize when they get caught, but if nobody had made any mention of this, they wouldn't be apologizing. Tens of thousands of students wouldn't know where to vote."

UW responds: The university will ensure, through its e-mail system and Web page, that students know where to vote, Lucas said.

The state Democratic Party said it will have dormitory captains in each college residence hall throughout the state on Tuesday, helping people know where to vote.


10/28/04 [Permalink] UPDATED 11/1/04
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, fraudulent flyer being circulated in African-American neighborhoods to suppress their votes through "warnings"

Dailykos has a scanned copy of the flyer here. Some of its despicable content:

MILWAUKEE BLACK VOTERS LEAGUE

SOME WARNINGS FOR ELECTION TIME

IF YOU'VE ALREADY VOTED IN ANY ELECTION THIS YEAR YOU CAN'T VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ANYTHING, EVEN A TRAFFIC VIOLATION YOU CAN'T VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

IF ANYBODY IN YOUR FAMILY HAS EVER BEEN FOUND GUIULTY [sic] OF ANYTHING YOU CAN'T VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

THE TIME TO REGISTER FOR VOTING HAS EXPIRED. IF YOU HAVEN'T REGISTERED YOU CAN'T ANYMORE.

IF YOU VIOLATE ANY OF THESE LAWS YOU CAN GET TEN YEARS IN PRISON AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL GET TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU

Reader HR emailed in an article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel which covered this (bold text is my emphasis):

A flier issuing false "warnings" about voting in Tuesday's election is being denounced by supporters of Democratic Sen. John Kerry as a fear tactic aimed at scaring off first-time Milwaukee black voters.

A Republican Party spokesman questioned whether the flier was a trick by pro-Kerry forces aimed at discrediting Republicans.

The flier, which surfaced this week, is headlined as coming from the "Milwaukee Black Voters League," an apparently fictional name. Some of the fliers were handed out Wednesday near N. 6th and W. Walnut streets on the city's north side, said Phil Walzak, local spokesman for America Coming Together, a pro-Kerry advocacy organization.

Walzak said two ACT volunteers reported having seen the fliers distributed from that location. Few details about how extensively the flier was distributed or who might have been responsible have surfaced.

"This is a targeted effort to dissuade and intimidate new voters," Walzak said.

State Republican Party spokesman Chris Lato called the flier "appalling" and said the GOP had nothing to do with it. Lato suggested that a pro-Kerry group might have distributed the flier as a way to cast blame on Republicans.

Lato said a Republican volunteer had received a flier from someone on the street in Milwaukee identifying themselves with the Republican Party.

The flier inaccurately states that anyone who already had voted this year cannot vote in the presidential election; that anyone convicted of any offense, however minor, is ineligible to vote; that if any family member has any conviction, it also disqualifies other family members from voting; and that it's too late for unregistered voters to vote.

The flier also states that "if you violate any of these laws you can get 10 years in prison and your children will be taken from you."

Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann said the flier appeared to be a crude intimidation tactic and would likely be illegal because it failed to disclose its author. He asked for anyone with information on the flier to contact the district attorney's office.

"It's clearly disinformation and is an attempt to discourage people from voting," McCann said.

McCann said while all points on the flier were false, there was particular confusion among the public about whether or when felons can vote. Felons can vote if they have completed a prison term and are no longer on parole or probation, McCann said.

George Twigg, Wisconsin spokesman for Kerry's presidential campaign, called the flier "troubling" and said it appeared aimed at discouraging new voters.

"It's certainly a dirty trick, but who is behind it remains to be seen," Twigg said. Kerry campaign lawyers were trying to find out who was responsible for the flier, Twigg said.

Merrill Smith, a spokeswoman for President Bush's campaign, said: "We will not tolerate any effort to suppress or intimidate voters." [eRiposte note: Right!] 

 

10/14/04 [Permalink] UPDATED 10/21/04
Milwaukee County Executive and GOP BC04 Co-Chair refuses to print additional ballots despite indications of large voter mobilization/turnout this year; after criticism and further discussions he relents

I find the reason given (concern over "fraud") quite ridiculous. Preventing fraud by not printing more ballots? You prevent fraud by investing in systems to identify fraud! 

Via reader PT, here's this report in the Guardian:

The mayor has requested more ballots for the Nov. 2 election, but the county executive has refused to provide them, citing concerns about voter fraud.

Mayor Tom Barrett complained that the 679,000 ballots the county agreed to print were less than the number prepared for elections in 2000 and 2002. He asked for almost 260,000 additional ballots, expecting a large turnout next month.

But in a letter, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said he had ``serious questions'' about the need for that many ballots because the city reported having 382,000 registered voters in September. He said ``chaos'' could occur at understaffed polling places where voters could grab ballots.

City officials said the request for additional ballots was an effort to prevent shortages because some wards have run out in the past. They say some ballots will be ``spoiled'' by voters' mistakes, and Wisconsin's same-day voter registration makes turnout unpredictable.

``I'm going to lay this at the footsteps of the county if there aren't enough ballots in the city,'' Barrett said.

By law, the county pays for and prints ballots.

Barrett and Walker both hold nonpartisan offices, but Walker is a state co-chairman of President Bush's campaign, and Barrett is state co-chairman of Sen. John Kerry's campaign.

UPDATE 10/21/04:

Via Dailykos, we have this update:

Originally, the county's election commission planned to provide 679,500 ballots for the city, which has about 424,000 residents old enough to vote.

But Barrett said the number of ballots the county had agreed to print in each ward was less than the amount prepared for the presidential election in 2000 and the gubernatorial race in 2002. Walker disputed that.

On Friday, the two announced a new plan under which the county election commission would print 938,300 ballots for the city election commission.

"The people in the city of Milwaukee and the county of Milwaukee can feel confident there will be an adequate number of ballots," Barrett said.

The city said it will return all the unused ballots to the county election commission after Nov. 2 to ensure all ballots are accounted for. The county is in charge of printing ballots for municipalities.

"This solution guarantees that all votes are counted and all ballots are accounted for," Walker said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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