Although Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker survived his June 5 recall election, Democrats won control of the senate when John Lehman (D) prevailed over incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) by a 1.2% margin. But as the Center for Media and Democracy predicted, Wisconsin Republicans are raising the spectre of "voter fraud" to cast doubt on Lehman's victory and justify Wanggaard's request for a recount -- which could return control of the Senate to Republicans.
"In the absence of a voter ID law and so many people suspicious of the election result, bitterness and division will only grow if the results are not recounted," said Wanggaard in a June 15 press release announcing his recount request.
The vote canvass showed Wanggaard lost to Democrat John Lehman by 834 votes out of 72,000 cast.
"Unfortunately, a portion of it was fraud," asserted Rep. Robin Vos on the Sunday morning political talk show UpFront With Mike Gousha. "You can say that with certainty?" asked Gousha. "I can, a portion," replied Vos. "Yeah, I do believe that." Vos did not define what counts as "a portion."
In addition to alleging “there was no double checking to make sure that people even resided for 28 days," Vos said that "you have to have some sort of ID in my mind. I think that was another thing that led to the potential for fraud."
In March, a Wisconsin judge struck down the state's new voter ID restriction as imposing unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote. An estimated 220,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin do not have the forms of identification required under the voter ID law (but they do have other documents proving their identity and residency). Many of those without the required ID are college students, people of color, and the elderly -- populations that tend to vote for Democrats.
Vos, the chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the state, spearheaded the effort to pass the bill in 2011, which reflects key elements of the ALEC "model" Voter ID Act.
Prior to the June 5 election, with pundits on both sides predicting the recall election would be tight, GOP leaders and right-wing media also stoked fears of voter fraud to cast doubt on any potential Democratic victories. They did so in part by complaining that the restrictive voter ID law had been enjoined.
Walker and three Republican senators survived their recall elections, and none on the right questioned the legitimacy of their victories.
It was a different story for Wanggaard. In the days after the race was called for Lehman, the MacIver Institute was running stories claiming there were "curious election documents found in dumpster" outside of a polling place in Wanggaard's district, and raising concerns that a minority of poll workers in the area had signed recall petitions.
The right-wing group called "Media Trackers" also ran stories hyping allegations of fraud in Wanggaard's district of Racine. A major allegation was that election officials allowed a voter to register with improper proof of residency, despite challenges from Lou D'Abbraccio, who the group identified as "an election observer working with conservative local groups." Media Trackers did not disclose that D'Abbraccio, who supporters say "can be loud as hell when he needs to be," is on the Board of the Racine County Republican Party and runs the Racine GOP poll watching program.
D'Abbraccio was also the subject of a 2010 Nation Magazine article titled "Inside the Wisconsin Right's Voter-Suppression Scheme," which documented his efforts to train election observers by "continually elaborat[ing] on and reinforc[ing] the impression that rampant fraud by “leftist” groups threatened the integrity of the election." The Nation reported that D'Abbraccio described the role of election observers "to report such fraud to party officials and to challenge the eligibility of voters they suspected of fraud." Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice suggested that actors like D'Abbraccio, who promote a climate of "misinformation and fear" about voter fraud, "are more likely to cross lines" into voter suppression. "That's a problem," she said.
It appears that Wanggaard may be using D'Abbraccio's "findings" as justification for the recount request. In his June 15 petition for a recount, Wanggaard alleged that numerous challenges by election observers were not properly documented or acknowledged, that individuals were registered and voted without proper proof of residence, and that individuals voted in more than one location, among other allegations. These claims echo D'Abbraccio's summary of purported vote fraud in the area.
D'Abbraccio's crew was not the only set of eyes on the Racine elections. According to the Chicago Tribune, "throngs" of Illinois Republicans traveled over the border to patrol Wisconsin's June 5 recall elections. The Lake County Republican Party of Illinois specifically recruited volunteers to act as poll watchers in Racine, for the express purpose of "help[ing] Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker win his recall election." Rather than disguising their role as poll watchers under the banner of preventing election fraud, the Illinois Republicans made the intent behind their participation clear: "If Wanggaard loses, Walker and the Republicans lose their majority in the Senate."
This group was particularly zealous in meeting their goal. Willard Helander, a Lake County Republican who is also the County Clerk, was the subject of a complaint filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) for allegedly "berating" a woman for wearing a Recall Walker button inside the polling station. Election observers can bring concerns to the polling place's chief inspector, but are not supposed to be enforcing the law against politicking within a polling station. Helander justified her actions to the Tribune,telling the newspaper the Wisconsin voter "had a kind of a community-activist demeanor."
Another out-of-state group intervening in the Wisconsin recall vote was the Texas-based "True the Vote," a spinoff of the Houston-based Tea Party group the King Street Patriots. The group stoked unfounded fears of "voter fraud" to justify their electoral intervention, and despite calling themselves "nonpartisan," they called the outcome of the June 5 elections "a victory."
In the run-up to the June 5 election, GOP leaders began laying the groundwork to cast doubt on any potential Democratic victories.
Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters faced disenfranchisement under the voter ID law (which was struck down as unconstitutional), Governor Walker claimed to the Weekly Standard in May that "there's no question why they went to court and fought [to undo] voter ID."
“I’ve always thought in this state, close elections, presidential elections, it means you probably have to win with at least 53 percent of the vote to account for fraud. One or two points, potentially.”
On May 30, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus echoed Walker's statements, alleging rampant voter fraud and claiming Republican candidates "need to do a point or two better than where we think we need to be, to overcome it."
For Priebus and Walker to be correct about fraud equaling "one or two points" in recent elections -- where 3 million people cast ballots -- there would need to have been between 30,000 and 60,000 fraudulent ballots.
But as CMD reported, in-depth investigations into election fraud in Wisconsin's 2004 and 2008 elections by Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen revealed that election fraud occurs at a rate of less than one-thousandths of a percent. Just 7 people were convicted of election fraud in 2004 and only 20 were charged after the 2008 elections. Throughout the course of both elections, only two individuals were charged with committing the kind of in-person "voter fraud" that more restrictive identification requirements might prevent.
On Monday, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB) certified Wanggaard's request for a recount. The outcome of the canvass will determine control of the Wisconsin senate.
Because the difference in votes was greater that 0.5%, Wanggaard will have to pay for the recount, rather than the state. The same statutory provision that allowed Walker to accept unlimited contributions during the recall period will also allow Wanggaard to receive unlimited donations to fund his recount expenses.
The county has until July 2 to complete the recount.
Link to original article from PR Watch
An emergency appeal filed late Tuesday argues that reinstating the requirement to show a government-issued photo ID to vote in the Nov. 4 election “imposes a radical, last-minute change to procedures for conducting an election that is already underway.”
On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Board announced that voters who had already cast absentee ballots for the general election must present valid government-issued identification for those ballots to be counted.
The appeal by plaintiffs challenging Wisconsin’s 2011 voter ID law asks that the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hear their appeal....
Dee J. Hall | Wisconsin State Journal 21 Sep 2014 Hits:749 Wisconsin
Manure is a potent fertilizer that does wonders for the crops that feed the cows that give the milk that makes Wisconsin America's Dairyland.
It's also making a mess of its waters.
While Green Bay holds a mere 1.4% of Lake Michigan's water, it receives one-third of the lake's nutrient load — due largely to the farm fields that drip phosphorus-rich manure into the streams, creeks and rivers that flow toward the bay.
Samples taken in many of those waterways over the past decade show average summer phosphorus levels twice as high —...
Dan Egan | Journal Sentinel 14 Sep 2014 Hits:536 Wisconsin
Trying to make sense of all the different court rulings in Wisconsin on their partisan Photo ID voting laws? We'll try to unpack that for you.
The short version: Two different state trial courts found the GOP's Photo ID restriction on voting to be a violation of the state constitution's right to vote. A federal trial court (aka U.S. District Court) similarly found the law to be a violation of various parts of the U.S. Constitution.
The partisan WI state Supreme Court recently overturned the decisions in the two state cases ---...
Ernest A. Canning | The Brad Blog 28 Aug 2014 Hits:569 Wisconsin
Wisconsin taxpayers would have saved $206 million over two years — 73% more than previously estimated — if officials had fully expanded its main health care program for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act, a new nonpartisan report shows.
If officials decide to change course and expand the program in the next state budget, state taxpayers would save another $261 million to $315 million through June 2017, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bureau serves the Legislature and is widely respected by lawmakers from both sides of the...
Patrick Marley | Journal Sentinel 17 Aug 2014 Hits:782 Wisconsin
Wisconsin's cuts to state aid for K-12 education since the start of the recession is the 7th largest in the country, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The report from the center, which calls itself "fiscally conservative but socially liberal," calculates that Wisconsin cut its state aid to K-12 public schools by 15.3% since 2008, a reduction that out-paced the cuts made by all but six other states during that time.
When measured in dollar amounts rather than percentages, Wisconsin's cuts to state aid since...
Erin Richards | JS Online 14 Sep 2013 Hits:651 Wisconsin
“The Fight for Voting Rights, 50 Years Later” (editorial, Aug. 28) correctly states that the voter suppression measures taken in states across the country make clear “the need for comprehensive and lasting protection of voting rights.”
While it is important to reform the Voting Rights Act, the best way to ensure full protection of our voting rights is to include a guaranteed right to vote in our Constitution.
Contrary to popular belief, although the Constitution prohibits discrimination in voting based on race, gender and age, it does not explicitly...
Mark Pocan | The New York Times 12 Sep 2013 Hits:607 Wisconsin
There's one way to unite conservative Republican Sean Duffy and liberal Democrat Mark Pocan.
In separate interviews Wednesday, the two congressmen from Wisconsin both expressed intense skepticism about granting President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against the Syria government.
"I am leaning strongly no," Duffy said when asked how he might vote. "But I am going to a security briefing on Monday when I get in (to Washington, D.C.), so I'll keep an open mind. But from where my constituents are at, I'm strongly no."
Pocan said he hasn't been...
Bill Glauber | JSOnline 05 Sep 2013 Hits:571 Wisconsin
The ongoing protests in Wisconsin's Capitol turned violent Monday when police tackled and forcefully restrained a demonstrator while carrying out what has become a daily round of arrests in the rotunda.
A video of the incident shows several Capitol Police officers talking very briefly to protester Damon Terrell before they aggressively take him down. Terrell is a regular protester at the so-called "Solidarity Singalong." Police have engaged in a crackdown on progressive protesters in the building since last month, when they began to enforce a requirement for large groups to receive permits for...
Ryan Rainy | Huffington Post 26 Aug 2013 Hits:752 Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI - A coalition of anti-war groups held a rally against U.S. intervention in Syria June 21. Over a dozen activists chanted, "Money for jobs, not for war!" at the corner of Humboldt and Locust Street in Riverwest. They received support in the form of honks and peace signs from drivers of passing cars.
The rally was followed by a teach-in on the Syrian conflict, relating it to the recent U.S. intervention in Libya and other U.S. wars and occupations. A homeless veteran joined the teach-in in the park and...
Fight Back! News.org 15 Aug 2013 Hits:606 Wisconsin
If you support Wisconsin’s outstanding public schools, Milwaukee might be the place to be on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the second “Public Education is A Civil Right March and Rally.” Or just maybe, your community might want to plan its own event.
Either way, now is the time to stand up for the public schools and public school children in every corner of Wisconsin.
Organizers of the Milwaukee event are looking for support, but they are also more than willing to lend a hand to event to others around the state. Contacts...
Tom Beebee | Institue for Wisconsin's Future 10 Aug 2013 Hits:776 Wisconsin
MADISON – Concerned Wisconsinites packed halls in Milwaukee and Madison this week to testify against Governor Walker’s regressive 2013-15 biennial budget proposal. Over the course of three hours, residents spoke out during public hearings hosted by Democratic members of the state Joint Finance Committee in opposition to key elements of Walker’s budget proposal, including the proposed expansion of school vouchers, the politically motivated rejection of federal Medicaid dollars, and Walker’s anti-middle class tax plan.
At the hearing held Tuesday in Madison, Edgewood College Student and United Wisconsin member Zach Madden testified...
United Wisconsin | Press Release 27 Apr 2013 Hits:1851 Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Lawmakers from the Joint Finance Committee are holding a public hearing in Greendale Thursday, April 4th to discuss Gov. Walker’s proposed budget and to get feedback on a wide range of issues from taxes, residency rules, BadgerCare, education and mass transit.
Before the hearing began, nearly 50 people held a rally outside the Greendale High School auditorium. Those individuals are asking the state Legislature to change the budget to accept federal funding to expand the state’s healthcare program for the poor and disabled.
Governor Walker rejected billions of dollars...
Angelica Duria | Fox6Now 09 Apr 2013 Hits:811 Wisconsin
Television spending in this year’s race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court topped $1.1 million, with nearly 70 percent of spending coming from conservative interest groups, according to estimates released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake. Incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack, who is part of the Court’s conservative wing, defeated Marquette law professor Ed Fallone in the April 2 election, maintaining the Court’s 4-3 conservative majority.
Television spending for this year’s Supreme Court race was lower than in recent years, where contentious races put Wisconsin fifth...
Brennan Center for Justice 04 Apr 2013 Hits:993 Wisconsin
As parents of children with special needs, it is critical to explain the facts behind Senate Bill 486 and Assembly Bill 110, which would allow students with disabilities to attend a public school outside their district or a private school with a taxpayer subsidy. These bills will erode the rights and protections for children with special needs that have been fought for by the people in Wisconsin. There are countless reasons that there is not one group that advocates for individuals with disabilities...
Jenny Stonemeier, Jenni Hofschulte, Adam Stonemeier, Jasmine Alinder, Anna Moffit and Terri Hart-Ell | JS Online 16 Jan 2013 Hits:801 Wisconsin
One Percent Rubs Affluence in Face of Wisconsin's Middle Class and Working Poor
This Monday, November 5th the doors will open at 7:30 for the Milwaukee Victory Rally with “Paul and the GOP” at Sterling Aviation on South Howell at Mitchell Field. The event will begin at 9:30. These are the folks who are the “job creators”, the ones whose “Pathway to Prosperity” for the 1% requires the “pathway to Austerity” for the 99%. It is unbelievable that they can say that they understand the middle...
Keith Roberts | Uppity Wisconsin 06 Nov 2012 Hits:1213 Wisconsin
On Oct. 25, Oshkosh Corp. announced that 450 employees will find themselves without jobs in January. While the national debate rages over economic recovery and job production, hundreds of Wisconsin families are left in uncertainty, with unemployment and hardship waiting to greet them in the new year.
Oshkosh Corp. has been a stable employer for longer than most of us can remember. What began as the Wisconsin Auto Duplex Co. in 1917, today Oshkosh Corp. sells and services products in more than 130 countries. ...
Mike Helbick | JS Online 02 Nov 2012 Hits:1081 Wisconsin
Update: Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Friday that protesters have the right to march on State Street and refuse to pay for police services the Police Department recommends, though they could encounter inconveniences, such as traffic from buses.
Madison police have begun charging groups to march down State Street, sparking discord with the Madison Area Peace Coalition and leaving organizers of the 42nd annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival fuming.
Representatives of both groups say they will likely march without a permit this weekend...
Sandy Cullen | Wisconsin State Journal 06 Oct 2012 Hits:822 Wisconsin
What a time it is to be living in Wisconsin and to be engaged in politics. The Milwaukee County chapter of Progressive Democrats of America celebrated its one-year anniversary recently by attending and representing PDA at Fighting Bob Fest. It was just a year ago – when I had the pleasure to sit down and meet with Conor Boylan, Tim Carpenter, Jim Carpenter (my PDAMC Co-Chair), Thom Hartmann and others – that the seeds were planted to form our PDA chapter in Milwaukee County. Since then we...
Robert Hansen | MilwaukeeDems.org 01 Oct 2012 Hits:775 Wisconsin
WASHINGTON -- The Democrat hoping to defeat Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in his other race is alarmed by a matter close to the congressman's heart: his obsession with Ayn Rand.
"It's a bit disturbing that somebody in such a position could be so heavily influenced by what was obviously really bad fiction," Rob Zerban, the Wisconsin Democrat vying for Ryan's House seat, told The Huffington Post. Wisconsin election law allows Ryan to run concurrently for vice president and his current seat in Congress.
Jennifer Bendery | Huffington Post 27 Sep 2012 Hits:1383 Wisconsin
Madison - Two Wisconsin state agencies have failed to follow federal law and their own policies in issuing economic development grants, the U.S. government said in a strongly worded letter sent to Gov. Scott Walker's administration.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Aug. 12 letter ordered Walker's administration to improve the distribution of economic development money.
Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said the agency for the most part agrees with the conclusions and the corrective ...
AP/JSOnline 27 Sep 2012 Hits:916 Wisconsin
A Wisconsin judge has struck down the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers, ruling the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void. The action comes after a lawsuit brought by unions for Madison teachers Milwaukee city employees. A Walker spokesman said they will appeal. Stay tuned.
Common Dreams Staff 14 Sep 2012 Hits:662 Wisconsin
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is declaring September 17 as “Read the Constitution Day.”
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The rally drew people from across the state…
Representative Paul D. Ryan at a campaign event on Wednesday in De Pere, Wis., where he emphasized his local roots. Both parties see the state’s 10 electoral votes…
Sign the PETITION!
November is coming up quickly. And with that come the political ads, yard signs, and phone banks.
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PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
From the Capital Times (2011):
“These days, a lot of it is health-related. ALEC, a strong believer in state's rights, federalism, and the free-market, is fighting federal health care reform tooth and nail. (It also opposes various state efforts to crack down on the health insurance industry and expand coverage.) Since 2005, 38 states have passed legislation crafted by its Health and Human Services Task Force, according to the ALEC guide. Wisconsin promises to soon be one of the star performers. 'There have been boilerplate bills that have similar characteristics to what has been passed here in Wisconsin,' Fitzgerald says. In December, he says, he and 20 to 30 other Wisconsin GOP lawmakers attended ALEC's national meeting Washington D.C. (emphasis added), where a key topic of study and conversation was federal health care reform. The 'State Legislators' Guide to Repealing Obamacare' was handed out at this meeting, and its model legislation discussed. 'A good example of that is a bill Joe Leibham is working on right now,' Fitzgerald says. "Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, and Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, introduced the bill Fitzgerald is talking about on Thursday. The 'Health Care Freedom Amendment' would change the Wisconsin constitution to prohibit the government from forcing anyone to participate in any public or private health care or insurance program. The amendment is meant to block the implementation of federal health
Information from Sourcewatch: