More Election Shenanigans in Wisconsin

Today in voter suppression (#Wisconsin edition)

By Laura Conaway, The Maddow Blog
Tue Aug 2, 2011 9:42 AM EDT

A man in North Hudson, Wisconsin, has filed an official complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Charles Schultz got one of those applications for an absentee ballot in the mail — you know, the ones that say the deadline for returning is afterthis month’s recall elections. Mr. Schultz’ complaint, by way of the local Patch report:

If I followed their instructions, my ballot would not be legal. I think they purposely intended to discount my vote. I understand such activity to be against the law. I believe I was targeted by this group because I am a Democrat and a senior citizen.

The applications are being sent by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, which insists they’re going only to AFP friendlies. The state director tells the Journal Sentinel:

“This just went out to our members. . .I’m sure the liberals will try to make a mountain out of a molehill in an attempt to distract voters’ attention from the issues.”

Below, a screengrab from the application found and posted by Politico.

The race in this district happens August 9.

Trying to Limit the Youth Vote

Maine GOP Chair: Students Who Vote And Pay Out-Of-State Tuition Are Committing Voter Fraud

Ryan J. Reilly, Talking Points Memo | July 27, 2011, 6:00AM

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is claiming that college students who pay out-of-state tuition rates and vote in state are committing voter fraud.

At a press conference at the Maine State House, Webster gave the media a list of over 200 students — their names redacted — who paid out-of-state tuition rates but were registered to vote in the state.

Webster said he came up with the list because of opposition from voter rights groups to a law passed by the Republican-led legislature in June which banned voter registration on Election Day. A coalition of groups have launched a petition drive to overturn the law.

One problem. The University of Maine only allows individuals who previously lived in Maine — those who aren’t just living into the state to attend school — to pay a discounted in-state tuition rate.

And Webster provided absolutely zero evidence that the students — the vast majority of whom were born in the late 80s and early 90s, based on Webster’s list — voted both in their home state and in Maine.

As the Sun Journal reported:

According to Maine state law, students are eligible to register to vote in the municipality in which they attend school, as long as they have established residency there. There is not a period of time required for a person to establish residency. The University of Maine System has different guidelines to establish student residency. A student may only be granted in-state tuition if he or she has proven that she has established residency for reasons other than academic, regardless of the length of time that he or she has lived in Maine.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Carney failed “to provide any further details such as: How many of the 206 students named actually voted twice? How many of them registered in Maine on Election Day? How many officially declared primary residency in Maine?”

Asked for those specifics, Webster said that he did not have the resources to get that data.”I only dealt with what was the easiest thing to find,” the GOP chairman said.

 

Webster, the newspaper reported, said he had personally witnessed “poll flooding” by special interest groups like MoveOn.org, ACORN and “the Democrat party.”

He also wasn’t clear on exactly how stopping people from registering on Election Day would specifically stop “voter fraud” rather than simply making it more difficult for everyone to vote.

The documents that Webster provided are available here and here.

Colbert Covers Voter ID Laws [Video]

Same-Day Voter Registration Banned in Maine

Maine’s same-day voter registration ban signed, challenged

A coalition is mounting a people’s veto campaign to erase the new law, which is aimed at reducing voter fraud in Maine.

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com, July 16, 2011
The Portland Press Herald

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill Tuesday to repeal Maine’s 38-year-old law allowing same-day voter registration. Before the end of the day, a coalition led by the League of Women Voters of Maine filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office to launch a people’s veto campaign.

“We feel that we want to preserve voting rights in Maine,” said Barbara McDade, president of the league. “For 38 years, people have been able to register to vote on the day that they vote. This puts up a barrier to people, and so we want to repeal that.”

Joining McDade was Bob Talbot, representing the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Maine NAACP, and Evert Fowle III of the MCLU.

In the Legislature, votes on the bill this month fell mostly along party lines. Just one House Republican, Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland, and two Senate Republicans, Brian Langley of Ellsworth and Chris Rector of Thomaston, voted with minority Democrats to oppose it.

Supporters say the law will prevent voter fraud and ease the burden on municipal clerks during elections, but opponents say it will create unnecessary hurdles to young, elderly and disabled voters.

In an email, LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said, “The governor supports steps to ensure that we protect the integrity of the voting process and ensure clerks have the time to properly process registration requests prior to Election Day.”

Maine would become the 43rd state to require that people register before Election Day.

The bill also prohibits absentee voting in the two business days before elections. McDade has said her group has no objection to that provision.

The current law has been credited with helping Maine rank among the states with the highest voter turnouts. In 2008, nearly 60,000 voters registered on Election Day.

Organizers of the people’s veto campaign will have 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to gather signatures of registered Maine voters. They will need valid signatures totaling at least 10 percent of the ballots cast in the most recent gubernatorial election – about 58,000.

The law is scheduled to take effect this fall, but the portion being challenged will be suspended if the petition is filed before then.

If the petition drive is successful, the question will appear on the statewide ballot in November or in June 2012, depending on how long it takes to gather the signatures and get them certified.

At a press conference planned for Thursday, several other groups are expected to announce their support for the signature-gathering effort and to discuss the campaign.