Skip to comments.Lawmakers: Latest voter fraud conviction makes case for voter ID
Posted on 10/23/2013 7:51:14 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON Chad Gigowski is a convict, pleading guilty last month to felony voter fraud for voting twice in the 2012 presidential election. He was sentenced to six months in jail, though granted work release privilege with 2 1/2 years probation to follow.
That much is clear through court records and media accounts of the 28-year-old Milwaukee mans sentencing Thursday in Milwaukee County Court.
We also know Gigowski claimed he was high on booze and drugs when he cast his ballots, and that he was not part of any organized election fraud effort, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Gigowski used an old drivers license to vote earlier on Election Day in Greenfield, signing a form stating he was a Greenfield resident, according to Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf. Gigowski did the same later in the day in Milwaukee, using a state Department of Workforce Development letter sent in his name to a Milwaukee address. He then signed a form promising that he hadnt voted in the same election.
All of that is a matter of public record.
What is not publicly known is who Gigkowski voted for.
Under Wisconsin election law, that information is off-limits.
Voting is supposed to be anonymous. Voters dont sign their ballots, of course, so theres no way of knowing who voted for whom.
There isnt a system set up to be able to track an individuals vote to redress an individual act of election fraud, said Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board. But you can be caught if you do something like Gigowski was convicted of doing.
Wisconsinites value that anonymity at the polls. Voters expect that their vote stays between them, their conscience and the ballot box. A search of Wisconsins Statewide Voter Registration System will show when someone voted, but not for whom the individual voted.
Not even the prosecutor or the court knows who Gigowski voted for. Wisconsin Reporter, perhaps like a lot of readers who read last weeks stories on the election fraud case, is curious. Who did he vote for? We still cant say. Gigowski could not be reached for comment and his attorney did not return a request for comment.
The bigger question is what happens in the case of widespread voter fraud? While Gigowskis two-vote day may have had no bearing on the outcome of the 2012 races on his ballots, the fraud he committed and the anonymity of the act raises significant voter integrity questions.
The court will agree this is the most serious of all election fraud offenses Landgraf told Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Timothy Witkowiak on Thursday, as quoted by the Journal Sentinel. Someone is seeking to dilute the vote of others It goes against the fundamental principle of one person, one vote.
And heres another point Landgraf raised at the sentencing, a point often overlooked in Wisconsin.
(I)ts not difficult to in fact steal someones vote or vote twice, the assistant D.A. said, according to the newspaper. He said the system invests quite a bit of trust in the individual voter, and Gigowski abused that trust.
Such incidents, as Witkowiak pointed out, only steel the resolve of Republican lawmakers to strengthen election laws.
This most recent example is yet another reason why election reform needs to be addressed this fall, said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, one of the most vocal proponents of Wisconsins controversial voter ID law and a host of election integrity measures. Vos counts elections reforms among the GOPs top agenda items in the fall session.
Voter ID remains in legal limbo while it moves into federal court in November. But Republicans have introduced several election-based bills in recent months.
Earlier this month, the Senate took up legislation crafted to address irregularities that arose in the 2012 Senate recall election in Racine.
There were a lot of irregularities (in Racine). They didnt use the proper bags, they taped up only half the bag, they were reusing bags from the morning It seems to be a cyclical thing in Racine, Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said last week.
Bills passed by the Senate require that only a chief inspector and an inspector from a different political party may seal ballot bags, an equal number of election inspectors from Republicans and Democrats perform polling functions and an election official records the type of proof of residency document submitted by a voter at registration.
Bags in nine of the 36 polling places in the June 5 recall election in Racine were double-bagged. An audit found missing pages in poll books, missing signatures on supplemental poll lists, incorrect voting numbers and unsealed and sealed and reopened ballot bags in wards.
No fraud was turned up by an investigation, however.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in July 2012 said a Jiffy Lube receipt was accepted in one county as a proof of residency, while a Wisconsin drivers license was not accepted in another county.
Between (the bills) and the (Government Accountability Boards) hard work, I dont think this will be an issue again, Lazich said.
While state elections officials say election fraud is rare in Wisconsin, Gigowski was one of 10 people charged in March with myriad election fraud crimes. Leonard K. Brown also has been charged with casting more than one ballot in the same election. Browns case is scheduled for trial.
We have a few holes in the process, Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, told Wisconsin Reporter.
Bernier, who chairs the Assemblys Committee on Campaigns and Elections and served as Chippewa County Clerk from 1999 to 2011, is concerned about the anonymity maintained by those convicted of election fraud. And she sees fundamental problems with the lack of checks and balances between Wisconsin and its border states, making it easier, Bernier says, for out-of-state voters to illegally vote in Wisconsin elections.
But perhaps the states biggest elections weakness, the representative asserts, is the inability to believe voters could game the system. Because prosecution of election fraud falls on the shoulders of county district attorneys already strapped for resources, Bernier said such cases are rarely investigated, and hardly ever prosecuted. D.A.s also must consider the high threshold of proving election fraud, weighing against the demands of other higher profile cases.
Magney said district attorneys are not required to report election fraud investigations and charges to the Government Accountability Board, but he said the public is aware of the cases.
The public interest in voter integrity issues is very high, the GAB official said. It would be very difficult for me to believe that anyone, anywhere, prosecuted would not become news.
There is opportunity for mischief.
An August 2011 investigation by Wisconsin Reporter found nearly 1,000 people, who were probably dead, were listed on the Statewide Voter Registration System.
While the dead accounted for a fraction of the total 3.2 million voters on the list and the Badger State boasts one of the cleaner registration systems in the nation, election observers say unauthorized voters of any kind in any number present potential election integrity concerns.
Wisconsin Reporter purchased the voter database, at a cost of $12,500, and found a total of 166 probable deceased names on the voter list in the Republican Senate districts that were targeted for August 2011 recall elections.
Critics of Wisconsins law requiring a form of photo ID to vote argue the requirement makes voting so difficult and inconvenient that it would amount to a denial of the right to vote for some.
They have fought Republican attempts to tweak the law to make it more accessible.
We still say that asking for a photo ID is discriminatory. There is no real way for the Republican leadership to attempt to improve the voter ID law, Stacy Harbaugh, spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, told the liberal Capital Times of Madison in December. The law has already been proven in court to have a discriminatory impact on people of color, the elderly, veterans, low-income people and students.
But Bernier and other voter ID advocates say election fraud cases like Gigowskis hammer home the need to secure election integrity.
You have a right to vote, but you have a responsibility that goes along with that, Bernier said.
ITS SO EASY: Its not difficult to in fact steal someones vote or vote twice, said Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf at the recent sentencing of a Milwaukee man convicted of voting twice during the 2012 presidential election.
NO ID REQUIRED: Wisconsins voter ID law is on hold while it moves through the courts.
Voter ID topic in Wisconsin again...
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
“He was sentenced to six months in jail”
Thats not a deterant to radicals who want to upset the process. People like this will gladly spend that much time to get their “hope and change” and will then wear it like a badge of honor.
But be sure the gubbamint has your most private information to sign up for Obamacare.
IMHO voter fraud in this country is FAR worse than people know or the ones that do know will not admit to. I truely believe it is and has been bad enough to change the outcome of elections from local to all the way up to national.
dip the finger in indellible ink like they do in other countries. at lease people will be limited to only one vote
It’s the poll workers who enable people right at closing time to show up and vote using people’s names that haven’t voted yet. And the mail-in ballots that get swiped from mailboxes and filled in for the RAT. And early voters who vote 3 or 4 times on the first day since the database doesn’t update immeditely.
The plan of the commie left is to make a big deal about someone who supposedly voted twice to make it look like we have no need for voter ID laws. Meanwhile they are behind the scenes committing massive vote fraud
Our elections have been hopelessly compromised.
Hogwash. Veterans already have military ID. For all but the students, it would be a one-time "traumatic" event to get an ID. (If the ACLU, et al, were SO concerned about these people, you'd think they would arrange transportation to the DL agencies).
For the new students, well, it would be an intro to how a free Republic is run.
From the Wisconsin dept. of Transportation website: "If you are a U.S. citizen, will be at least 18 years of age by the next election, and would like a Wisconsin ID card to vote (although it's not currently required), please check the ID for FREE box when completing the MV3004 (Wisconsin Identification Card (ID) application) or when applying online."
So, this is overwhelmingly difficult or discriminatory?
voter fraud is easy and widespread, I am very sorry to say. Mail in voting, internet voting, early voting, no identification requirements, identification requirements when present are weak and easily faked, and most easily and important, poll workers themselves committing fraud.
I think we have not had a true and fair election in several generations, probably since about 1913.
Hang everyone that is caugbt in vote fraud. tbat will stop it.
After Saddam was overthrown and the Iraqi held their first free elections in decades, they used a very simple method to control against vote fraud.
The dipped their index finger in ink.
I have experienced attempted voter fraud or at least voter oppression.
I moved from Irving, Texas to Arlington, Texas and re-registered to vote in Arlington. I did this over a year before a major election.
When I showed up, very late in the day (because I had to work late), I had my license (with the old address, AND a DPS letter showing that I had updated my address to Arlington but was waiting for my new license to arrive in the mail) and my NEW Arlington Voter Registration card, the poll watcher tried to deny me the right to vote.
He said I needed to vote in Irving. Of course, that would be illegal and I couldn’t get to Irving in time TO vote, so I told him no and that I was going to vote HERE!
He said, okay, but it would have to be a provisional ballot and he would “challenge” my ballot. A provisional ballot is the same as any other ballot, only they mark my name on the roster as a challenge.
Once I marked my ballot (this was the old days where you would complete the arrow pointing to your candidate of choice for each office), I went to place it into the counter and he attempted to take my ballot. I told him, NOPE, ALL ballots go into the counter! That is why they mark my name on the roster as a challenge (if I wasn’t properly registered, etc...).
Once again, he attempted to take my ballot. I walked over to the official and explained the situation, at which point he escorted me to the counter machine. When I tried to put it in, this poll watcher again tried to block me from putting it in the machine. The election official told him to move or he would be removed from the voting site.
This time he moved and I put my ballot in the machine. I never heard another word about the incident.
The part that got me so pissed was that this whole encounter was right in front of the voting official, but he didn’t say ANYTHING until I complained. He is SUPPOSED to be in charge of that voting site and any illegal activities like voter oppression, campaigning too close to the site, etc... are HIS responsibility to handle. There was NO ONE in line when this was happening, so he had to have heard our altercation, because I was LOUD! I wanted everyone to know EXACTLY what this ass was doing.
That poll watcher was never back at my voting site, and I lived there for over ten years, so maybe, MAYBE he was banned. I figure more than likely, he was simply MOVED to create problems for other voters at other sites.