A lot of people on the right make noise about voter fraud and other voting irregularities. And while there never has been any evidence of any significant voter fraud in Wisconsin, there are a few isolated cases of people doing things they shouldn’t do. Let’s look at some highlights:
1. The newest one: Lawmaker’s wife casts vote while Idaho resident
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board records show Samantha Vos voted in the state’s April 3 election. Vos is the wife of Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), the co-chair of the state’s powerful joint finance committee.
But records from Canyon County, Idaho show Samantha Vos swore under oath April 19 she was a resident of that state since early March. Vos’ declaration came as she filed for legal separation from her husband.
Wisconsin law requires twenty eight days of continuous residency prior to voting.
2. Double voting: Man charged with voting twice admits lie
As a pair of state justice agents questioned him in September 2009 about where and when he voted in the 2008 presidential election, Herbert Gunka seemed perplexed.
He recalled voting at his local polling place, alone, and called it uneventful. But he couldn’t explain the absentee ballot documents the agents produced, suggesting he’d also voted a week before the election.
The agents were secretly recording the interview at Gunka’s northwest side Milwaukee home, and on Tuesday jurors in his trial got to hear it.
Gunka, 61, and his wife Suzanne Gunka, 56, were charged in March 2010 with casting two votes apiece in the November 2008 election, a felony punishable by up to 3½ years in prison.
The Gunkas managed to get off at a jury trial despite the fact that they did vote twice. I don’t care how much talk radio you listen to, anyone should know that voting twice is a crime. Oh and did I mention that Herbert Gunka is a right-wing radio listener?
Notice any of the commonalities in this list of voting irregularities? They come from the right. Now I know what you’re thinking, that I just picked out cases that were linked to the right. However, in my defense I would offer that there just aren’t that many cases of voting irregularities to choose from.
In-depth investigations into election fraud in Wisconsin’s 2004 and 2008 elections revealed that election fraud occurs at a rate of less than one-thousandths of a percent. Only 7 people were convicted of election fraud in 2004 and only 20 were charged in 2008.
But if there are hardly any cases of election fraud, why do groups like True the Vote, the Wisconsin Republican political leadership and others continue to rant about this? You might think that they were delusional or crazy, but there is a point to all this nonsense.
On Election Day, poll watchers appeared to have slowed voting to a crawl at Lawrence University in Appleton, where some students were attempting to register and vote on the same day.
Charlene Peterson, the city clerk in Appleton, said three election observers, including one from True the Vote, were so disruptive that she gave them two warnings.
“They were making challenges of certain kinds and just kind of in physical contact with some of the poll workers, leaning over them, checking and looking,” said John Lepinski, a poll watcher and former Democratic Party chairman for Outagamie County.
He said that as a result of the scrutiny, the line to register moved slowly. Finally, he said, some students gave up and left.
The fact that the right haven’t found any significant voter fraud is irrelevant to their goals. That was never the goal, the supposed “voter fraud” is merely a pretext. The goal is to make it difficult for certain people to vote. And they succeeded in some small way during the past recall elections.
My question is what are we or the political powers that be (like the Democratic Party of Wisconsin) going to do about it?
Categories: | Better Government | Media | Wisconsin