The stage is set for vote fraud on a massive scale in Wisconsin in connection with petitions calling for the 2012 recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker due to two truly shocking loopholes in Wisconsin election law.
But the so-called Wisconsin election “watchdog” agency, the Government Accountability Board (GAB), has no legal obligation to verify there are no duplicate signatures on the petitions nor is the GAB obliged to check whether all persons signing the petitions are “qualified electors.”
A “qualified elector” in the case of this recall election is a person over the age of 18 years who has resided in Wisconsin for 28 days prior to signing the recall petition. A recall petition signer need not be a registered voter.
It will be up to Walker and his volunteers or privately-paid staff to check more than half a million signatures for duplicates and verify that all signers are qualified. And, after the petitions are submitted (on varying dates in mid-January), Walker’s staff will have only 10 days to get all this done.
And making matters worse is that some organizations circulating petitions are actively encouraging voters to sign more than once. The MacIver Institute reports:
One Wisconsin Now, a liberal non-profit, posted on its website “You can circulate or sign a recall petition even if you have already signed another recall petition.”
The reason for this advice from One Wisconsin Now is not known. One Wisconsin Now notes that only one signature will count – but that’s true only if duplicate signatures are detected.
Recall backers claim they now have 300,000 signatures, though it’s not known how many of these are duplicates or invalid for other reasons. Organizers say they plan to gather 700,000 signatures to allow for disqualifications. Obtaining the required 540,208 signatures is a high bar — 25% of the votes cast in the election in which Walker won the governor’s seat.
The GAB has asked for $625,699 in additional funding to hire temporary staff to review the petitions. It has 31 days to complete this review. But the review will be limited, MacIver reports:
The GAB staff will direct the temporary workers hired to process the recall petitions to only check to see if each signature includes the requisite information (address and date).
All signatures on the recall petitions are otherwise presumed to be valid and lawfully obtained.
Still, the GAB estimates it will cost more than $600,000 and take much longer than the 31 days allowed by law to review the more than 540,000 signatures to required to trigger a recall.
In 2008, the Milwaukee Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit released a report documenting an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of an election in the state of Wisconsin” in 2004, as John Fund reported:
Among the problems cited were ineligible voters casting ballots, felons not only voting but working at the polls, transient college students casting improper votes, and homeless voters possibly voting more than once. The report said the problem was compounded by incompetence resulting from abysmal record-keeping and inadequately trained poll workers.
Nothing was done, except to propose disbanding the police investigative unit.
This year, however, a law was enacted and signed by Gov. Walker requiring all Wisconsin voters to show a photographic i.d. card before being given a ballot.
That means no one can vote to recall Walker without proof of “qualified elector” status. The voter i.d. law should be amended to require the same proof for setting up the recall election in the first place.