Skip to comments.Missing signatures? Review finds gap in Wisconsin recall figures
Posted on 02/11/2012 8:37:14 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON The numbers dont add up, and Wisconsins elections watchdog cant explain it.
A third-party analysis of petition signatures in recall campaigns lodged against four Republicansenators found large disparities between the number of signatures claimed by recall committees and the signature count scanned and made public by the Government Accountability Board, or GAB.
That means one of two things, said Mark Antill, executive director of TruetheVote.org, a nonprofit aligned with the tea party that advocates for election integrity.
Either the campaigns inflated the number of signatures or the GAB, which oversees the states campaign finance, elections, ethics and lobbying laws, posted incomplete files on its website.
Its more likely they were omitted, said Antill, whose organization is using proprietary software to verify more than 2 million signatures filed in recall campaigns against the senators, Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
TruetheVote is analyzing the data for Verify the Recall, a joint venture of the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty and We the People of the Republic, tea party organizations aligned with fiscal conservative movements. The venture bills itself as a grassroots effort of more than 12,000 volunteers checking the validity of the recall petitions.
Ross Brown, founder of the Dane County-based We the People of the Republican who helped launch Verify the Recall, did not return calls from Wisconsin Reporter.
Antill said a number of the GABs public files were corrupted, blocking users from opening them. Last month committee seeking to recall state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, reported to the GAB and public that it had collected 20,600 signatures 123 percent of the 16,742 needed to force a recall.
TruetheVote said the GABs public database included 14,061 signatures. Antill estimated that around 270 pages of petitions were missing from the public file.
GAB spokesman Reid Magney told Wisconsin Reporter said he could not explain the disparity in the two sets of numbers.
What we got from the (recall) committees was their estimate. Thats the number we included on our website, he said. Weve gone through the petitions ourselves, but we are not releasing how many signatures we have found.
A Wisconsin Reporter computer-assisted analysis earlier this month found 200 pages of recall petitions missing from the GABs public database of more than 150,000 pages of signatures the recall Walker committee filed.
GAB confirmed the gaps in the database, vowing to update the file.
Magney at the time said he did not know why the pages were omitted, but asserted the omission was inadvertent.
In the other recall campaigns, the committee to recall state Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, told GAB it collected more than 21,000 signatures. TruetheVote said about 1,000 signatures were missing from the online database.
The committee to recall Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, said it turned in more than 21,000 signatures. TruetheVote said about 3,000 signatures were missing from the file.
And the organization working to recall Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, reported collecting more than 24,000 signatures. TruetheVote said the GAB file is missing at least 1,500 signatures.
As it plows through the 1 million-plus signatures reportedly filed in the Walker recall, Antill said his initiative has found mixed-up files, including signatures in the Kleefisch recall in the Walker PDFs.
We can only process what we can, Antill said.
Inside the numbers
Still, Antill said TruetheVotes review found Fitzgerald safe from recall. Based on conservative estimates, he said the recall committee has submitted 12,833 valid or eligible signatures about 4,000 less than required.
Even adding in the missing pages, Antill said, Fitzgerald would have a safe challenge.
Lori Compas, of Fort Atkinson, who has led the campaign against Fitzgerald, expressed confidence earlier this week that the committees signatures would stand up and the senator would be recalled.
Fitzgerald can complain about the process all he wants, but the facts are the facts, she told Wisconsin Reporter. Anyone can go online and see the petitions, see our effort was honest and legitimate.
Perhaps not, according to TruetheVote.
Challenging the line
Fitzgerald and the other Republicans are challenging thousands of signatures collected outside of the new district boundaries. The new maps, laid out by the majority Republicans, are being contested in court.
The GOP has argued that the updated boundaries, ordered to change every decade with the new census, should be used in the recall campaigns and possible elections, not employed for the first time in the November 2012 general election.
But the GAB, with guidance from state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, said the current district maps should be used in recall campaigns.
Fitzgerald said there would be nearly 6,000 ineligible signatures, based on those constituents living outside of the 13th Senate District under the new boundaries.
Wanggaard is challenging 20,427 signatures, much of which are based on redistricting, according to a Wisconsin Reporter review of challenges filed on the GAB website. The senator said less than 13,000 signatures were gathered in what would be the old 21st Senate District, not the newly drawn district. Under the existing maps, Wanggaard is challenging 133 of the signatures.
Galloway said 1,683 signatures were collected from outside the new maps, and is challenging 674 under the current maps.
Moulton is challenging 6,260 signatures that would be outside the new district, and 588 under the current boundaries.
TruetheVotes analysis, using the current maps, shows Moulton with a strong challenge, within about 300 contested signatures of avoiding recall.
Galloway and Wanggaard have a huge uphill battle staving off recall under the existing boundaries. TruetheVote found the Galloway recall committee hits the threshold by more than 1,000 signatures, and about 5,000 signatures in the case of the Wanggaard recall committee.
Randolph Brandt, treasurer of the Committee to Recall Wanggaard, on Thursday said hes confident the campaign will have enough signatures to recall.
Dan Romportl, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, which is said to be speaking for the four incumbents, has not returned several phone calls and emails from Wisconsin Reporter over the past two days.
Recall committees have five days to rebut the challenges, filed late Thursday, and the incumbents will have another two days to respond.
Incumbent challenges to recall signatures
Fictitious name Timothy P. Sucker. The challenge notes the incumbent could not find a valid voter registration for Sucker. Moulton challenges:
A few names with Chippewa instead of Chippewa Falls municipality listing. Wanggaard challenges:
Signatures of 12 known felons, the most felon challenges among the four senators. Galloway challenges:
Petitions blacked out. Review of petitions shows black marker crossing out Petition to Recall Pam Galloway at the top of the page.
Challenging municipality address issues, signers wrote ditto instead the municipality.
Wisconsin Senatorial Signature Challenge Ping (Details)
If you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list, please FReep Mail me.
The second author should read Ryan Ekvall.
In other words, the number of posted signatures is too small to force a recall. What’s the problem? Just declare that the recall failed.
You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this who will count the votes, and how.
Stalin is alive and well, running the Democrats and the unions. The Party of Force or Farce is losing credibility, I hope.
“In other words, the number of posted signatures is too small to force a recall. Whats the problem? Just declare that the recall failed.”
Looks as though the Govt “Accountability” Board is infested with RATs. Wisconsin has more work to do fumigating its government.
In this case the vote counters are Republican. I’m glad they’re checking the names. It doesn’t surprise me that there would be more than a few bogus signatures submitted.
Whether the GAB approves or disapproves of a third party looking over their shoulder, anything that keeps the unions from manufacturing wins, behind closed doors, under the table, in the dark and out of sight, should be encouraged.
And if it turns out the final numbers don't match up...send in the lawyers.
That’s what I think and why I’ve spent hours entering names. I’ve got to get back at it this AM. Our criteria for challenging a signature is so narrow, however, that I don’t hold out much hope for this process. We are not allowed to disallow pages that are obviously entered in the same hand with only the signatures illegible. I’ve never seen so many illegible signatures in my life. I’ve worked with groups of people who sign petitions, sign up sheets, lists, etc. all my life, and I’ve never seen such bad writing.
The petitioner prints his name and then signs his name. I’d say that at least 85% of the signatures are unreadable — simply a scribble. I think that is a very high percentage, and I think that it is on purpose. It looks really odd, especially when the est of the page looks like it was filled out by the same person, or the same 2 people.
It shows from this reprot that the demise of the Tea Party has been greatly exagerated!!! Congradulations to the hard working men and women of Wisconsin Tea Party groups and their supporters
The pages I have been entering data on shown only five at a clip. many have two, three, or four. A few have one. About 60% show five, so what are the odds the numbers are nowhere accurate? Sometimes the fifth entry is clipped off by the scanner, so I can only enter partial data. (Quite a few of those. Hmmm.)
On occasion a signature will flat out not be the same as the printed name. Most, as another poster commented, were scribbles like those on a prescription.
One thing I noticed, and commented in a Wisconsin newspaper, was that when the pages had a full five signatures, they were from metropolitan areas. When they came in from the rural areas, it was more like two or three per page, if that. I was surprised when I didn't get any flak for saying that that reinforced my opinion that city folk looked more to the government to provide for them then those outside the city.
Here’s an ‘OLD but good’ idea-— each recall signature should be validated with a photocopy of either a DL, passport or other valid photo ID. Same goes for voter ID when at the election sites.
No proof of ID, no voting or recall signatures allowed. PERIOD!
Most hotels even require photo ID when checking in with a credit card payment. THis recall process is INSANE and Dems Lie and cheat by nature.
I gotta think there’s a chance that these “missing petitions” are just the old scam: wait to see if it’s close, and if it’s close but in the wrong way, just before the deadline, “Hey wait, I found some in my trunk, we gotta count them too!”.
This happens in SF and its environs far more than random chance, human memory processes, or triple-checked election protocols would allow for.