Voter ID

UPDATE: May 7,  The LaCrosse County DA has asked the Onalaska, WI Police Department to investigate. A detective has been assigned to the case. 

Madison, WI. During election season in Wisconsin it is common for legislative staffers to take a leave of absence and work on campaigns around the state.  For a couple of months they are assigned to a candidate who may not live in their home district, and in many cases, act as campaign managers.

In November of 2010 a republican legislative staffer, who in the past has worked for Rep. Mike Huebsch(Now DOA Secretary) and currently works for Rep. Warren Petryk, was assigned to the Dennis Clinard campaign in LaCrosse, WI.  This staffer owns a home in Madison where she has lived for several years.

On election day, Nov. 2nd, 2010, she posted on Facebook that she “just voted for Walker, Kapanke, Huebsch, Johnson and Van Hollen. Go Team!”.   Wait a minute…Kapanke? Onalaska Wisconsin?

Edited version of FB conversation to protect identity of participants. M is the subject.

But she lives in Madison, not Onalaska.  Her statement caught my attention because I wondered how someone who resides in Madison could vote in a district over 100 miles from their primary residence.   Good question, right? Especially since Governor Walker and our Republican State Legislature, her colleagues,  are making so much noise about fair elections and pushing a mean-spirited Voter ID bill that has the very real possibility of disenfranchising thousands of seniors, students and minorities in order to facilitate the creation of a permanent conservative majority.

The Wisconsin Voter ID Bill, or AB 7,  is set to become one of the most restrictive Voter ID bills in the nation for its special crackdown on students. If it passes, in 2012 voters will need to produce a drivers license, a state ID, a passport or naturalization papers, a military ID or Native American tribal ID in order to vote. A student ID would no longer be an acceptable form of identification.  It will make it difficult for out-of-state students to vote on their college campuses where they live nine months out of the year.

I happen to be a Facebook friend of the wandering Republican legislative staffer in question.  Back in November when she posted the information, I called her on it. She asserted that she “was living there”.  Not true.  She was temporarily residing in Onalaska knowing that she would be returning to Madison the day after the elections as evidenced by her additional facebook post; “Will finally be home in approx. 16 hours! Watch out Lake Point!”  Watch out indeed.

Here is a link to the Wisconsin State Elections Handbook. The following is excerpted from pages 37 and 38:

2. Temporary Absence.
a. Residency is not lost when a person leaves home and goes to another
country, state, county, town, village, or ward temporarily with intent
to return home. Residency cannot be established in any ward, town,
village or city in this state while living there temporarily.

This activity begs the question:  Is it common for GOP staffers to vote in districts where they are temporarily working on campaigns in order to give a little boost to their candidate?  This is what absentee ballots are designed for. In light of recent extremely close contests,  such as the 163 vote victory of  Rep. Randy Hopper over Democrat Jessica King, is it conceivable  that a “Mobile GOP Voting Strike Force” could potentially sway elections? What stops a large corporation, say, Koch Industries, from subsidizing apartments for a month or so where folks could claim residency in critical state elections.  That scenario might sound a bit far fetched, but is it possible? Sure.

Before the GOP endeavors to disenfranchise voters with this bill, perhaps they should police their own operatives to make sure they remember where they reside at election time.

  1. Chief Muffin Taster says:

    Is that Marcie M? Holy crap, I can’t believe she was crazy enough to commit voter fraud in the first place, and then brag about it on facebook? She really needs to cover her tracks a whole lot better than this!

    As a former worker for Mike Huebsch, there is no way she didn’t know that this was highly illegal. Was just a way for her to be able to vote for Kapanke and Huebsch (who she used to work for), instead of voting in Wisconsin?

    If I were this person, I would be so ashamed. She brings dishonor and embarrassment to the entire GOP for cheating like this!

  2. For this person to BRING dishonor to the Rs, they would have needed honor to begin with. Sorry, doesn’t seem to exist in the present-day Republican party.

  3. John Emerson says:

    They may be trying to prove that voter fraud is a real problem by committing it themselves. I’m not kidding.

    They’ve been trying to find evidence of extensive voter fraud for literally two decades, with almost no success. Under Bush the Dept. of Justice and a number of Republican state attorneys worked together to prosecute voter fraud and found hardly any. So maybe now they’ll say “It’s so easy for us, it must be easy for them.”

  4. Chief Muffin Taster says:

    I wrote the GAB asking them about this and this was the response I got:

    Dear Mr. Berge:

    Thank you for forwarding the article. Our legal staff is not available today, so I am not sure if this specific instance has been brought to our attention or not. I have included our attorneys on my reply to you.

    The article is correct in that a person who moves to another location for a temporary purpose is not eligible to vote there. At times, it is difficult to ascertain whether a person has an intent to return from whence they came or not. The article suggests that this person was fully aware that her stay in Onalaska was only temporary; she, therefore, should have voted from her Madison address.

    Voter fraud is a criminal offense. A complaint with respect to voter fraud should be filed with the district attorney where the offense allegedly occurred. Although the G.A.B. cannot “prosecute” voter fraud, we appreciate a heads up when an incident of suspected fraud occurs.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    Diane M. Lowe
    Lead Elections Specialist, CERA
    Government Accountability Board, Elections Division
    P.O. Box 7984
    Madison, WI 53707-7984
    Phone: 608-266-3276
    Fax: 608-267-0500

    QUESTION: Does anyone know how to find out who the DA in Onalaska is to write to about this?

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