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Friday, July 2, 2021

Wisconsin GOP Voter Fraud? You Decide.

By Patrick DePula

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?


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.



49 Responses to “Wisconsin GOP Voter Fraud? You Decide.”
  1. George from Superior says:

    Was just writing about a similar situation regarding a state senate recall. Did a google and your post popped up. A co-worker says he is going to “move” to Polk county for 10 days, vote then move back to Superior. He is a former GOP county chair.

    Strange, My title was word for word the same as yours …. ESP?

    Look for my post to be at the Daily Kos

    Unethical and Hypocritical is the term to describe this behavior.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Back when Ronald Raygun was Potus.the city constable of Sutherland,Iowa.51058 75-76,was a staunch believer in rethugs and took Comm.College classes in two different states during daytime. In the 1984 election he voted for RR in three different locations in two states in one day. If I remember correctly.RR won the 1984 election by two disputed Iowa/Minn. votes. Curse the luck. I’d tell you what Dave Johanssen’s name is,but it isn’t germaine to the story and I spelled it wrong anyway..

  3. Ripley in CT says:

    After the second Bush “election”, I began to lose faith in our elections process. If we continue to lose public control of our own fates through fair and honest processes, then we all lose something far greater. Fraud and “missing” ballots, and broken machines and hanging chads… has to stop. The President needs to address voter fraud before the next election cycle.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Hang in there Ripley!
      This set of issues and concerns is almost as old as America is. It’s never quite settled because some ne’er do well always dreams up another way to make an end run round the law.
      It’s disheartening and saps energy we could use for other things but each new step forward really does help.
      Though the main point of this article is very disconcerting, that one man’s erasure of records could disenfranchise whole groups of people, there is something to be said for how far we have come on a lot of other fronts since him.
      I’m not much for faith in any system. I’m for constant attendance to whether we are doing what we say we are doing.
      Hang in there!!!

  4. LA Brian says:

    I completely believe that it is possible to vote in more than one location in WI. A friend got married and moved there after college, and I was floored when she explained the voting process.

    They had moved to a rural part of the state and were not known to the poll workers. Rather than provide proof of residence all she had to do was show up with her husband and they could simply vouch for each other that they lived within the precinct and were eligible to vote. That’s it – no proof other than someone standing next to you.

    By now they are known to many of the people in the community, so I still don’t know if they actually have voter registration cards.

  5. bob benner says:

    This website is starting to get really funny, in a strange and twisted Funny sort of way… Alaskan’s are a unique breed in that we really don’t want OUTSIDER’s telling us what to do… It doesn’t matter if your conservative or liberal, if you don’t deal with what we deal with day in and day out, your two cents are really just that, two cents… And yet we now we Alaskans are telling them what to do in Wisconsin??? Really???

    • mike from iowa says:

      Actually,with the state of the economy, your two cents worth is more like a deficit of around a nickel when all is said and done.

    • benlomond2 says:

      There’s nothing about “funny” about this website when conversing about issues that potentially affect us as Americans. Voter Fraud has many ways of cropping up, varying from state to state and depending on state laws. By sharing information across the country, we as individuals can work to improve our laws and regulations to prevent voter fraud in our individual states. This affects us as a nation , as these indiviual state laws affect us ALL during a National election. Federal laws trump State laws and regulation; that’s part of being in the United States of America.

      Everyone has the right to vote, ONCE. You vote in in your own district, ONCE.

      Factual information, spread across the nation is how we fix things as a nation; Afro-Americans were denied the ability to vote in many ways, until the Federal Goverment stepped in. Do you think it should have been left alone, because Alabama was for Alabama only ? Do you think segregation should have been continued because it was for Georgians and not Alaskans ? All Americans have the same rights, across all states, not more for some and less for others. and collectively as Americans, we should all be aware of what is happening in ALL of our States when these issues are being subverted. It may seem that issues on a local level do not affect us on a National level, but they do – these seemingly small building blocks are how we live and interact with each other, and there are certain rights and responsibilities as American citizens that we all have. They should be applied equally across the country.

      What happens in Alaska, if it possibly affects me in California, then yes, I’m going to speak out about it. The same applies to Wisconsin, or Florida or any other state. I want to know that products and food from Alaska are clean of pollution, that Federally owned lands in Alaska are being keep clean and pristine for future generations – that’s why they are FEDERAL lands that have been set aside for Americans to come, not to be raped and pillaged to make a fast buck. When I visit Alaska, I want to know that Law Enforcement officers are not going to “shake me down” or accost my wife..that I don’t have to be concerned about about some local carrying a weapon simply becasue he can, losing his mental capabilty to be responsible with it, and me becoming an unfortuante statistic, simply because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, I own and use weapons; there is a time and place for them – walking in the woods where there are bears, absolutely, at a rally or in a crowd of people- just plain stupid.

      Forums like this spread information about what goes on in Alaska, and fortunately also about national issues. Opinons are like A***oles, everyone has one. and so long as we’re polite about it, AKM (and Snos 🙂 ) allow us to express them, regardless of where we hail from. Censorship based on where we are from is not done here.

      Alaskans are part of the United States, get used to it.

      • Perfectly said, ben. I think I first became aware of just what you are saying during the Civil Rights movement. What affected one state or town affected us all, as Americans. And then I sort of forgot about it, until the debacle with voting in Florida that landed us with Bush. The unfortunate thing is that we were made aware of voter fraud or at the least, inept vote counting, and we still haven’t fixed it. So whenever and wherever it happens, or might be happening, it should be investigated and dealt with.

        Like you said, each registered voter gets one vote and he or she needs to be voting in the proper district.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      LOL-! We Alaskans like to think we are a unique breed!
      Whatever is unique about us has more to do with the singular situation geography and climate presents us with in terms of how we decide to deal with it all. There is no doubt we have a number of different challenges and site specific issues that Outside folks have no measure for just as Florida does and Maine does and Oregon does.

      Other than that we are humans – no more, no less.
      And human institutions require constant attendance lest they become stale, corrupt, and/or out of reach of the humans they are designed to serve.
      There is , as neighbors and fellow Americans, a large difference in looking at WI’s voter registration law and ways it can be corrupted (and looks to have been here) and telling WI what their registration law should be.
      I’m not seeing this site telling WI what law they should have, I’m seeing an essay by someone from WI asking if folks think it possible with the information available whether someone did an end run around the law. Big difference.
      This essay also serves as a reminder that we have holes in our voting law which could and likely are, at times, exploited by ne’er do wells here.

      As Alaskans, we do ourselves no favors when we believe our own myths about just how exceptional we think we are. We grow fruitloops like whatzername when we fall for that horsepunky.

      Do I think someone from Boston will fully understand the challenges we face in having over 100 stand alone utilities and a loose transportation system of air, water, and land over our vast area that they have no measure for? No.
      Do I think we could fully understand those dinky states on the East coast who have very little public land , massive power grids, and roads and trains everywhere? No
      I do think however the common things we all deal with are just that- common. Even allowing for variations across state laws and the whole country, Americans have a vested interest in fair and open elections . Whatever is ‘unique’ from state to state in that context is a sidebar to the bigger set of concerns. Period.

      • benlomond2 says:

        well said ! chortle… local geography IS a challenge ! I asked a question about a year ago on how sanitation was dealt with in the rural areas of Alaska during winter.. chem toilets and a VACUUM sewage system !!! was quite intersting from a technical view point !! But living in California, I AM a bit puzzled about the apparent resistance to building codes for sesimic reinforcement…. Is this more of the Alaskan exceptionalism ?? 🙂 ( I don’t know how to put the “evil grin charactor” on the page ) tongue in cheek comment – does it REALLY take a house falling on one’s head to have an learning experience ??? Ben runs for the hills…again !

        • Alaska Pi says:

          You don’t have to run for the hills Ben 🙂
          Yes, in some cases it does take the house falling to learn.
          And sometimes even that doesn’t result in any learning. Sigh.

          Am reminded quite often lately of my mother’s oft repeated musings that Alaskans think they are immune from the mistakes folks Outside have made.
          Geography and climate may frame the issues uniquely but being short sighted is part of the general human condition.

      • bubbles says:

        excellent reply Pi. thank you.

    • bubbles says:

      i am not sure if you are aware that Alaska is part of the United States of America and i and the rest of us who live in other states are not OUTSIDERS. the people who comment on THIS blog are people who support this blog with THEIR talent. THEIR time and THEIR money and they belong here. there are NO OUTSIDERS here no matter where in the world they are. Alaskans are no more unique than any of the rest of their fellow countrymen. we are human beings. most of us just trying to live a good life. a life of service to others. a life of loving our neighbors if they let us; of caring for those who need help.
      this is a community bob….. second warning.

    • Sarafina says:

      bob benner:

      No, you “don’t want OUTSIDERS (FIFY) telling” you what to do, just so we send you federal money paid by us. Actually this is similar to many western states. But just as you have your unique life situations, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE. Get over it, you are not that special.

      Also, per your former governor, Alaskans have no problem telling others what to do. Really.

  6. It definitely sounds like voter fraud and I’m glad, Patrick, that you called her on it.

    I was interested to read that an absentee ballot in Wisconsin has to be signed by the voter and witnessed. In Washington state, we get our absentee ballots several weeks before and after voting and putting it in an envelope that goes in another one, we fill out our name and phone number ( and I think the address, but I’m not sure), and we sign and date it. The only time a witness is required is if the person makes a mark instead of a signature.

    As for the whole college student thing, I just assumed that college students should be voting absentee according to their permanent address. When I first registered, the legal age was 21 and I used my driver’s license. Our student IDs back then didn’t have much information besides and photo and a student ID number – no birthdate to prove age or address to show where our home was or where we lived at university. So I’m not sure how a student ID would be valid anyway, unless it has a lot more information on it.

  7. slipstream says:

    Speaking of phony residence claims: Before the 1998 election, Dick Cheney lived in Highland Park, Texas, for five years; filed federal income tax returns listing himself as a resident of Texas; and all his vehicles were registered in Texas.

    Then somebody pointed out that the Constitution says that the president and vice president must be from different states. Oops.

    Cheney magically became a resident of Wyoming — where he had a vacation home. He changed his voter registration FOUR DAYS before Bush named him to the ticket.

    The courts let him get away with it.

    To think there was a chance to stop Cheney . . . and it slipped away.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Good one. i couldn’t remember if Cheney changed addresses before or after dubya picked him . I’m still wondering from afar, why Cheney wasn’t charged with attempted murder on a lawyer when the whole world knows what rethuglicans think of lawyers.

  8. A fan in CA says:

    I think another site that should be interested is Brad Blog. The do a lot of voting watchdog work.

  9. Irishgirl says:

    Sounds like fraud to me.

  10. scout says:

    “WI State Senator Under Recall Hammer Caught in Supreme Court Recount”

    snip “Harsdorf was not at the polls to face voters that day. Instead Harsdorf chose to vote absentee. Voting absentee is quite simple in Wisconsin. A voter requests an absentee ballot then fills it out and places it in the ballot envelope. The voter and a witness are then required to sign their name to the ballot envelope. It seems like reasonable rules, ones that most voters can comply to with no problems. But not Harsdorf. Instead she returned a ballot in an envelope without a witness signature.
    This was not caught on election day, her illegal vote was opened and counted in the original certified result of the WI Supreme Court election. Normally the story would end here, but due to the recount the ballot bags were opened and examined in the presence of witnesses and observers from both campaigns. At this point the illegal vote was discovered.
    Now instead of 19 legal absentee ballots being cast in the Town of River Falls there were only 18. But there were 19 ballots mixed together. Wisconsin law wisely requires that there not be more votes cast than legal voters. The law further requires that ballots be removed at random until the ballots equal the number of legal voters. So one persons ballot was pulled and their vote discarded. We will never know what voter had their ballot discarded. We can know the odds though – 18 times out of 19 it won’t be Harsdorf that loses their vote.” Snip

  11. tinydancer says:

    Scary stuff!

  12. Madcitychick says:

    Tim Gruenke, La Crosse Co. District Attorney

    Address: Law Enforcement Center
    333 Vine St., Room 1100
    La Crosse, WI 54601

    Office: 608-785-9604
    Fax: 608-789-4853


    La Cross County District Atty Office:

    • leenie17 says:

      Wow…dontcha just love how there are mudpups everywhere and they immediately jump to attention and get things done? Less than 2 hours and you already got three responses!

      Thanks for following up on this, Patrick. This kind of thing is extremely dangerous to our electoral system and has to be stopped in its tracks.

      And thanks to everyone to provided contact information. Mudpups rock!

  13. re posted comment from my blog. Hopefully this is ok. But it is a response from the govt. accountability board.

    Chief Muffin Taster
    Submitted on 2011/04/29 at 3:44 pm

    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?

  14. Sally says:

    So my question is, did she send in an absentee ballot in LaCrosse too? Is this how the GOP intends to take over the country…by cheating? I know, dumb question.

  15. Lilybart says:

    Ann Coulter didn’t vote where she was supposed to either, but its ok if you are a Republican.

  16. WakeUpAmerica says:

    GOP philosophy, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    • ibwilliamsi says:

      From the Newt Gingrich play book.

    • leenie17 says:

      Don’t forget the second part of that philosophy which is , “Anything and everything is legal as long as you don’t get caught.”

      And this, “And if you get caught, just pretend that it never happened. Repeat it often enough and they’ll believe it.”

      And the last one, “If you can’t convince them that it never happened, just say that the little baby Jeebus forgives you and they will too.”

  17. Patrick DePula says:

    Hi Mike, it’s working for me. It’s a giant .pdf. It took about 3 minutes to download and appear in the browser. Thanks for your comment!

    • PaPa23 says:

      Patrick, do you have any objection to this article being shared on other sites? If not I would post it on Newsvine (an MSNBC site) and it would receive wider exposure.
      One more request. Could you carry a sign Saturday at Thunda Around the Rotunda that says “Hi I’m Patrick” so I could meet you and shake your hand?

  18. mike from iowa says:

    Patrick/AKM-link to Wi. elections handbook doesn’t seem to be working. What I found snooping on internet for residency requirements says for Wisconsin-no durational residency requirements, 30 days registration before election,and may also register at polling place on day of election. I cannot find a definition for durational residency anywhere. Everything rethugs have done in Wisconsin sounds like voter fraud to my uneducated self. Keep jabbing the bastards where they live. Great sport,what.I’ll insert my own Howard Dean shriek here.

  19. Laurie says:

    Very interesting how these folks make their own rules. I remember that Romney sold his home in Massachusetts and no longer owned property in the state, yet said he lived at his son’s address so he could vote for Scott Brown. Just because Romney owned homes in N.H., California, and/or Utah, he didn’t feel that should stop him from voting in the election where he did not own a home.

    The arrogance of these people is astounding.

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