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Says nonpartisan polling 'electioneering' because candidates' names appear on exit poll 'ballot'
UPDATED TWICE: G.A.B. responds, then corrects original response...
By Emily Levy on 7/13/2011 10:58am PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy

Two national election integrity organizations jointly conducted exit polling at a pair of poll sites yesterday, during round one of Wisconsin's recall elections. Election Defense Alliance (EDA) and Protect California Ballots teamed up with local activists to poll voters as they exited from voting in now-infamous Waukesha County, with the goal of checking the accuracy of the official election results.

According to a press release (see below) issued yesterday by EDA, despite local volunteer pollsters being equipped with copies of regulations from Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election authority, and a letter from the agency's Executive Director outlining permission for exit polling, the rules were apparently changed during the day and pollsters forbidden to hand out the exit polling 'ballot' voters were asked to complete anonymously.

EDA National Chairperson Sally Castleman told The BRAD BLOG, "The numerous red flags that came to light in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election this spring alerted many Wisconsinites to the need for citizen oversight in their elections. With official vote counts being conducted secretly inside computers, exit polling is one of the very, very few mechanisms left to the public for assessing the legitimacy of official outcomes." Castleman added, "We need to see this level of public participation all over the nation in order to halt the privatization of our elections."

Full text of press release:

GAB Shutting Down Non-Partisan Exit Polls in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Government Accounting Board (GAB), apparently changing their regulations as they go along, has effectively shut down citizen-run exit polls in today’s Democratic Primary Recall Election in Wisconsin.

Despite having the GAB Regulations (§§5.35 (5), 7.37 (2) ) in hand plus a letter from Kevin Kennedy, head of the GAB, both clearly allowing exit polling, the GAB today through GAB member David Buerger, has said that the group is “electioneering” because candidates names appear on the polling “ballot.” He further dictated that no voter would be allowed to touch an exit poll ballot, that pollsters can only verbally ask the voters their responses. This despite the fact that Edison-Mitofsky, the polling company commissioned by the Media Consortium to conduct Exit Polling nationally over the last many years, uses written polling ballots that the voters fill in themselves.

The polls were being run by concerned Wisconsin citizens volunteering under the guidance of Election Defense Alliance and Protect California Ballots, two non-partisan organizations with the mission of restoring transparency to our elections. Both organizations have run non-partisan exit polls many times in the past in close to a dozen states. Neither group has ever been harassed in such a way before.

“This is reasoning beyond specious”, said Jonathan Simon, Director of Election Defense Alliance. “Exit polling in this country has been going on for decades. To call it ‘electioneering’ simply because candidates names appear on the poll ballot, when all names appear without any advocacy involved, is absurd. This is concealment in OUR elections. Public participation is being forbidden!”

“If exit polling has now conveniently been relabeled as ‘electioneering’ this spells the end of exit polling in America and one of the last few mechanisms for evaluating the legitimacy of official vote counts,” added Sally Castleman, National Chairperson of Election Defense Alliance.

“The implications for upcoming primary and general recall elections are of the utmost importance” said Simon. “This encroachment on the public right of observation and participation must be challenged forcefully and immediately.”

“The irony of ‘Government Accountability’ is beyond belief,” Simon added.

Despite the fact that the law says a photo ID is requested but not required for this election, reports have been received from Glendale that voters are not being allowed to vote without photo ID.

In another related story, robo-calls, reportedly coming from Virginia, are being made to Democrats throughout the primary districts today telling them not to vote today because an absentee ballot is in the mail.

See Eric Kleefeld's coverage at TalkingPointsMemo for background on the WI recall elections and the announced outcome of yesterday's Democratic primary recall elections. Round two of the recalls will be held next Tuesday, July 19, when two more primaries and one general recall election (two Republican primaries, and one Democratic state Senator facing a recall) will be held.

* * *

UPDATE 7/15/11: Reid Magney, spokesperson for Wisconsin's G.A.B., wanted to offer the board's point of view on their ruling which effectively shut down the EDA's exit polling by forcing pollsters to move outside of the 100 ft. zone around the polling place, as the group noted in their press release posted above. His response follows in full below, along with EDA's response to Magney's remarks...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Latest in line of inappropriate and/or criminal behavior by newly re-elected Republican member of the high court caught on video...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2011 12:10pm PT  

Good lord. What next? Does WI Supreme Court Justice David Prosser need to strangle a baby on camera before members of all political parties in the state fully realize how absolutely inappropriate this man is for holding a seat on their highest court?

Following on the recently reported allegations that he placed a fellow justice into a chokehold during a contentious debate about the legality of the controversial anti-union legislation of Prosser's former colleague, Gov. Scott Walker, a local news team --- this time on camera --- caught another glimpse at Prosser's long-reported anger management problems.

A reporter from a local Fox affiliate attempted to get answers from Supreme Court justices about the choking issue, as six of the seven were said to have been present at the mid-June incident. He was able to confront four of them with questions, but only one, Prosser, snatched the mic out of his hand in anger, before quickly handing it back.

Watch:

Both the Dane County Sheriff's office and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission are now investigating the claims that on June 13th Prosser placed both hands around the neck of fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during deliberations on Walker's bill which strips many rights from citizens to collectively bargain with the government. In a statement, Prosser says the assault claim "will be proven false."

The mic snatching incident, as well as the choking allegations, are just the latest in a long line of examples and allegations concerning the hard-right Republican Prosser's problems with anger management, truth-telling and even criminality...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATE: Dane County Sheriff now investigating incident...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2011 2:42pm PT  

Wisconsin's far Rightwing Republican Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has come up with a novel way of demonstrating his fake conservative bona fides. According to a report over the weekend by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (a paper which endorsed Prosser in his recent Supreme Court election bid), Prosser is said to have attempted to make government smaller a few weeks ago, by placing fellow Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley into a chokehold.

Hey, at least he didn't attempt to drown her in a bathtub.

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

The incident, confirmed to the paper by other sources also present when it is said to have occurred, happened on the day prior to the court's decision on the legality of Gov. Scott Walker's bill legislating away the right for public employees to collectively bargain.

An alternate description of the incident, offered by supporters of Prosser's, is that he, not Bradley, was the victim in the alleged assault. Prosser has claimed victim-hood in other incidents in the recent past after being called out for abusive treatment of his fellow (female) Supreme Court Justices...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2011 1:15pm PT  

As a new report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [PDF] is released today, documenting a rapid rise in U.S. Islamophobia and asserting that anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has doubled between 2009 and 2010 for some odd reason, I'm reminded of one of my favorite calls from the past week sitting in as guest host of the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show on radio.

"Josh", a Right-leaning caller from Madison, WI and a self-identified "civil" and "very fair" person was incredulous that Wisconsin's new voter-suppressing polling place Photo ID restrictions would actually disenfranchise any voters, since they would have a year, he said, to get themselves one if they didn't already have one.

Most telling, though, was the way "Josh" --- a seemingly nice guy, but one who has been used and abused by the folks on the Right who are playing him for an idiot --- began his call explaining what a fair person he was because, as he informed me, he "used to have a Muslim co-worker" with whom he was able to "sit and talk". They even "used to be able to debate" without, presumably, the Muslim co-worker trying to blow him up or, I guess, vice versa!

Here's my amusing/distressing conversation with "Josh" from the Tuesday, June 21 Mike Malloy Show. [Appx 4.5 mins]...

Sigh...

* * *

By the way, here's some information on those 80- and 90-year old nuns turned away from the polling place in 2008 for lack of Photo ID, as I mentioned in reply to "Josh" during the call. And here are the remarkable hoops those nuns, and everybody else in Indiana, must now jump through in order to keep their vote from being completely thrown out if they don't happen to have an Indiana-issued Photo ID on Election Day.

Ironic, all of that, particularly in light of Charlie White, Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State (charged with overseeing the state's election laws), who is currently facing 7 felony indictments, 3 of them for voter fraud, which, curiously enough, were not detected or deterred by Indiana's draconian, voter-suppressing, polling place Photo ID restrictions. But, I guess, he's not a 90-year old nun, a student, or a WWII veteran.

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TONIGHT: You, me, Desi & everything else on our final night for a while!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2011 4:08pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with tonight's audio archives below...]

It's our final night for a while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show as the Malloys return from summer break tomorrow night! [Pausing for cheers.]

So we're back for one more night, BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) tonight, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • ME, YOU (AND DESI DOYEN!), Yup, we'll be taking the opportunity to catch up on all the stuff we haven't been able to cover over the past week, including Wisconsin, GOP voter fraud and much more, and even a visit from the Green News Reports' Desi Doyen!

  • PLUS: Anything else of note today, and whatever is on your mind via calls to 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: My thanks to you all for a great week on the Malloy Show! We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when...but until then, you can listen to tonight's commercial-free audio archives and read the chat room archives, all down below. Enjoy!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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GUESTS: GOP Presidential candidate Fred Karger & BRAD BLOG legal correspondent Ernest Canning!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2011 4:02pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below...]

We're back guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show for the next few weeknights --- tonight through next Tuesday! Hope you can join us!

We'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) each night, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fast-paced show, with a GREAT interview with Fred Karger right in the middle! Be sure to give it a listen! The audio archives (and chat room archives) follow below. See ya again tomorrow night!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Courts decide in favor of citizens' rights in two of three different noteworthy cases today...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2011 11:09pm PT  

Good news for Constitutional conservatives such as myself today in two out of three noteworthy court decisions in three separate courts, at least in regards to the rights of we, the people.

Let's start with the two good news items, both related to the Constitutional right to equal protection under the law, and then the not-so-good news item, the one out of Wisconsin, where a predictable partisan divide succeeded in removing rights from American citizens...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Massive irregularities, e-voting vulnerabilities wholly ignored by corporate media throughout contentious, landmark contest...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/6/2011 5:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

For nearly two months, The BRAD BLOG has furnished in-depth coverage and analysis of the contentious WI Supreme Court election. Our coverage not only focused on the horse race, but, more vitally, on the vulnerabilities of the Badger State's e-voting systems, its lack of transparency, massive violations of basic chain-of-custody procedures revealed during the woeful, nearly-month long "recount" process, concluding with the state Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.)'s certification of the election results as "accurate" despite all of the above, and despite never having received the minutes of the Waukesha County "recount," as mandated by state law.

Beginning with our April 6 article, "WI Supreme Court Election Virtually Deadlocked, According to the Machines Anyway," and ending with the May 31 coverage of WI Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg's description of a "cascade of irregularities" during her concession speech, followed by Brad Friedman's exclusive June 1 interview with Kloppenburg on KPFK, we've offered an extensive and independently verifiable historical record of the extraordinary and exploitable flaws discovered and exposed in the state's electoral system.

Unfortunately, as has repeatedly occurred with thousands of election integrity articles published by The BRAD BLOG over the past seven and a half years, the issues concerning lack of transparency, the potential for insider election fraud, and a reliance upon "faith-based" electoral results, with rare, against-the-grain exceptions, have been greeted by a silence within our hollowed-out, corporate-owned mainstream media that has been so deafening as to call to mind an Orwellian suppression of public consciousness.

"If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say...it never happened," penned George Orwell in his classic 1984, "that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death."...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2011 6:31pm PT  

On my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today (heard on Wednesdays at 3:30pm PT in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego & around the world on KPFK.org) I spoke live with WI Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. It was her first interview since conceding the highly-contentious and incredibly close WI Supreme Court election and "recount" yesterday to incumbent Justice David Prosser.

Given the state media's shamefully bad coverage of the disastrous "recount", the interview may well be the only one, as short as it was, in which she was able to address accountability for the "cascade of widespread irregularities", as she described them during her concession speech, which plagued the state's certified results.

"How do you know," I asked her at one point during our conversation, "that, given the wild, widespread irregularities --- these wide open ballot bags, tamper-evident seals that were broken, serial numbers that were missing, scratched out, changed --- how do you know that those ballots that were counted during the recount process were actually the ballots that were cast by the voters on Election Day?"

Her disturbing but unavoidable answer: "At this point, we don't know. All we have to go on is the hand count, and the extent to which they're consistent with the tapes in the [voting] machines."

You can listen to my follow up, and much more of what she had to say about the election, the "recount", her still-pending request for an independent investigation of controversial Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, and the failure of the state's top election authority, the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), to assure that statutory security processes, meant to deter both malfeasance and malfunction, were actually followed...

Download MP3, or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...

* * *

For much more specific information on what we discussed during the interview, including photographs of "wide open" ballot bags, missing seals and serial numbers, other blatant chain of custody violations discovered during the course of the "recount" across the state, and particularly in Waukesha County, please see some of The BRAD BLOG's extensively detailed most-recently related coverage as linked below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Calls on state officials for changes to electoral system to 'improve compliance with basic election procedures'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2011 7:06pm PT  

[6/1/11 Ed Note: Kloppenburg was my guest today on my KPFK/Pacifica radio show here in Los Angeles. It was her first interview since conceding yesterday. The audio archive is now here. - BF]

Citing a "cascade of irregularities," thousands of tabulation errors discovered during the statewide "recount," and tens of thousands of ballots found to be unverifiable or otherwise having been in violation of the secure chain of custody, Wisconsin's independent Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election for a 10-year term on the bench to Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser this afternoon at a press conference held in Madison.

"Votes were found to be miscounted in every county in the State," Kloppenburg said in her prepared remarks. [Her complete remarks are posted at the end of this article.].

"Over 150 ballot bags containing tens of thousands of votes were found open, unsealed or torn. Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined. In many cases, municipal clerks in Waukesha testified the bags weren’t torn when they left cities, towns and villages so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County’s custody."

She continued: "Most every county and most every reporting unit statewide had discrepancies in reconciling poll books in which the number of voters and the number of absentee voters is recorded. In several counties, including Dane, Milwaukee, Marquette and Jackson, missing or uncounted ballots were found in unexpected places during the recount, such as a clerk’s office or left in machines."

Despite the widespread irregularities --- and despite the fact that state officials at the Government Accountability (G.A.B.), the state's top election authority, failed to review thousands of pages of minutes, including hundreds of exhibits recorded during the "recount" documenting the irregularities, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively last night --- Kloppenburg announced she would not file for a judicial review of the certified results.

"This recount should serve as a wake-up call to improve Wisconsin’s election processes," the Asst. AG explained to the gathered media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Mountains of irregularities, more than 800 official exhibits, and objections by candidate's attorneys never examined by top state election authority before razor-thin results for 10-year seat on state's high court certified as 'correct'…
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2011 8:54pm PT  

Last Monday, May 23rd, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency, officially certified [PDF] the controversial results of the extraordinarily close April 5th statewide Supreme Court election and its subsequent "recount."

However, as The BRAD BLOG has learned, the agency certified those results without reviewing hundreds of official exhibits documenting wholesale ballot irregularities, on-the-record objections from the attorneys of the candidate who filed for the "recount," and thousands of pages of official transcripts and minutes documenting the entire "recount" process from the election's most controversial county.

Even more alarming, the agency doesn't even yet have a copy of the hundreds, if not thousands, of pages which make up the official minutes documenting the nearly month-long "recount" from Waukesha County --- the last of the state's 72 counties to complete its count, and by far the most controversial county following the late discovery there of some 14,000 votes not included in the county's original Election Night results.

Indeed, the G.A.B. admits, they may not even have those minutes for another two weeks, despite the already-issued certification of the election results, and despite the fact that the statutory deadline for a candidate to file a challenge to those certified results in court is tomorrow (Tuesday).

The official minutes from most of the other 71 counties, as documented during the "recount" of the razor-thin, highly contentious election for a 10-year term on the state's high court between incumbent Republican Justice David Prosser and his independent challenger Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, have been posted on the G.A.B.'s website for some time, with the 71st, Milwaukee County, finally posted late last week.

With Kloppenburg set to announce her decision on whether to seek a judicial review tomorrow, Waukesha's lengthy and detailed minutes are not posted for public review with all of the others, despite massive and alarming irregularities discovered during the "recount" process there over the past month (see here, here, and here for just a few of many examples), because the G.A.B. has not been given them by the county, as state officials conceded during phone conversations late last week...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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As the count nears its end, more irregularities emerge, including mis-dated poll tapes, unprinted 'paper trails,' duct taped bags and the state's unwavering faith in the machine...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2011 6:53am PT  

For weeks, we've been reporting on the mess seen in the statewide "recount" of Wisconsin's very close and very contentious April 5th Supreme Court election between Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

As The BRAD BLOG obtained evidence of new irregularities this week --- to add to previously reported revelations of, among other irregularities, ballot bags discovered "wide open" with mismatched or missing serial numbers as well as ballots discovered completely unsecured, all in violation of the secure chain of custody, and other similar messes and mistallies across the state --- we wanted to find out if the state's chief election agency, the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), was able to confirm that the ballots counted during the "recount" were actually the ones cast on Election Day. And, if so, how they could confirm that.

To date, with about 25,000 "recounted" votes still to be canvassed from the now infamous Waukesha County, some 2,690 votes have been discovered during the "recount" to have been originally mistallied. That's according to the G.A.B.'s own figures, and includes hundreds of thousands of ballots which were simply re-tallied rather than counted by hand during the "recount," on the same computers which tallied them --- either correctly or incorrectly --- on Election Night.

31 out of the state's 72 counties counted some or most of their ballots by hand for the first time during the "recount" (including several of the largest counties). But, given the fact that supposedly "secured" ballot bags were discovered during the "recount" to have been "wide open" and not secured at all, with little or no explanation from officials, after being accessible for weeks by the same untrustworthy and partisan election officials, such as Waukesha's County's activist GOP County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who screwed up the tabulation in the first place, how is it that anybody knows if the ballots finally counted by human beings are actually genuine?

We've been trying, with no small amount of frustration, to get a definitive answer from the G.A.B. on that question for the past week, as well as from the campaigns of both candidates in the race.

The G.A.B. generally agrees with the campaign of the election's current leader, incumbent Justice David Prosser, that broken security seals, opened ballot bags --- even some that are torn open and taped back shut with duct tape, as seen in Waukesha County this week (photos below) --- and other violations of chain of custody are of little concern. So long as the newly tabulated results largely match the results printed on the poll tapes by the computer tabulators at the end of Election Night on April 5th, that is, essentially, close enough for government work.

The G.A.B. and the Prosser campaign, as we confirmed with each directly, and as the G.A.B. indicated on a recent post to their website published in the wake of the specific questions we've been asking them --- are placing their faith largely in the accuracy of the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, privately-manufactured electronic voting systems made by companies like Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia. They are also placing faith in their election official colleagues around the state.

All of which begs the question: What's the point of having a "recount," or of using security procedures and physical seals for the ballots after the election, if violations of those procedures and seals are of little concern to the state's top election agency?

Worse, if the results printed on the poll tapes are the ultimate proof of the accuracy of results, what happens when --- as discovered among poll tapes from the City of Pewaukee in Waukesha County late last week --- the "recount" uncovers "Official Results Report" poll tapes dated a full seven days before the actual election was held?

Or, worse still, what happens when poll tapes failed to print at all on Election Day, as has been seen in a number of towns across the state?...

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Paper ignores wide-spread irregularities, mistallies, massive chain of custody violations discovered in state's Supreme Court race...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2011 9:01pm PT  

We have been working, over the past week --- digging into details, speaking with election officials --- on a new article we hope to publish soon on the "recount" of the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election between the Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser and his independent challenger Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

If all continues apace, the article will follow up with details on still more disturbing new "irregularities" discovered recently during the continuing count in Waukesha County and elsewhere across the state, following on our earlier reports of wide-spread irregularities such as"wide open" ballots bags in Waukesha and elsewhere, ballots discovered unsecured on the desk of a city clerk, and inaccurate counting in Milwaukee. In all, the unavoidable fact we continue to see is that, thanks to Wisconsin's woeful election procedures, pathetic chain of custody requirements, and horrible secret vote-tabulation computers, nobody can know for certain whether thousands of ballots being counted today are the ones actually cast by voters on Election Day.

Taking all that we've learned into account, one might even conclude: This is no way to run an election. But more on that soon.

In the meantime, in her first official public statement since her April 20 press conference announcing her intention to ask for a "recount" and a special investigation of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, Kloppenburg speaks out today in an op/ed response to an embarrassingly obnoxious unbylined editorial by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board published last week.

The Journal Sentinel's three paragraph, anti-democratic (small "d") pot-shot last week --- which may as well have been written by the campaign of Justice Prosser, criminally-inclined candidate whom the paper endorsed (even as they failed to disclose that point in their editorial) --- was riddled with evidence-free assertions, and mocked the very idea of a "recount" as a "waste of time," on the grounds that they believe "nothing will change in the election for state Supreme Court."

The paper failed, sadly, to note that more than 2,600 votes have, so far, been discovered as originally mistallied by the state's woeful computerized tabulation systems (and that's with hand counts performed in only 31 of the state's 72 counties) and the inability to confirm, thanks to the blatant violations of chain of custody, that thousands of votes being counted are actually the same as those originally cast.

Kloppenburg's op/ed details some of the "irregularities" being found, but ignored by the Journal Sentinel's editorial board, this way...

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Open ballot bags, mistallied ballots, high undervote rate, observation obscured and other unreported concerns...
By eowyn_of_rohan on 5/11/2011 1:02pm PT  

- Guest blogged by "eowyn_of_rohan"

[Ed Note: The following account from an observer at Milwaukee County's machine "recount" of ballots from Wisconsin's April 5th Supreme Court election between incumbent Republican David Prosser and independent Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg comes on the heels of recently documented reports of complete chain of custody violations such as "wide open" ballots bags in Waukesha County --- where the stunning announcement of the addition of some 14,000 votes two days after the election reversed the originally reported results to give Prosser the unofficial lead over Kloppenburg for the 10-year seat on the state's highest court --- as well as earlier reports of ballots discovered unsecured for weeks in Dane County's city of Verona and unexplained variances in "recount" results as reported during the "recount" by the WI Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's chief election agency. Thousands of ballots have so far been discovered to have been originally miscounted to date, even with just a minority of counties actually bothering to count ballots by hand during the "recount." - BF]

I worked on the recount in Milwaukee County last Thursday, and it was quite a disturbing and stifling experience. I left there puzzled and frustrated, and have been searching for news on 'anomalies' there, but find next to nothing. News reports have only stated there have been "no major problems," and things are "going smoothly"...

Kloppenburg stated at her recount request press conference:

There are legitimate and widespread questions about the conduct of this election – most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state...We are aware of widespread anomalies that occurred...: an undervote in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine; the Waukesha situation; reports of long lines and photocopied ballots in several counties including Fond du Lac; significant changes in the vote totals in Winnebago County.

People have wondered if Waukesha County 'irregularities' were perhaps a red herring, and that maybe we should be looking more closely at what's happening in other counties around the state. I really think so. I've compiled some information on the recount problems in Milwaukee County, many of which I witnessed.

It's important to understand that, in Milwaukee, as in 41 of Wisconsin's 72 counties, ballots are being "recounted" by the same optical-scan machines that tallied them in the first place, unlike the hand-counts that have been the focus of attention elsewhere. It can be very difficult to oversee that type of "recounting." Moreover, while ballots bags have been seen as opened, and their chain of custody violated in the process, in counties such as Waukesha, and stacks of ballots discovered unsecured in Dane County's City of Verona, parts of Milwaukee's count also included bags that were improperly sealed, with the secure chain of custody broken and uncertain.

I also observed a surprising number of undervoted ballots and, as disturbingly, machine tallies at the "recount" which under-reported the results for Kloppenburg as I was able to observe them on ballots before they were fed into the machines.

Some observations detailed below are more significant than others, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, so please feel free to add to it if you have additional info...

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