Michael Murphy
Press Release

Leaked documents show waste of millions just to stir GOP voters

Statement from Alderman Michael J. Murphy---September 16, 2016

By - Sep 16th, 2016 02:57 pm

As a taxpayer and as chair of the Judiciary and Legislation Committee, it is troubling to see the comments posted today by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Steve Baas, senior vice president with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

In the piece written by Daniel Bice (“John Doe leak offers insights”), a leaked document (email) has Baas discussing making up concerns about voter fraud in an effort to stir up the Republican base immediately after then-Supreme Court Justice David Prosser barely squeaked by challenger Joanne Kloppenburg in April 2011.

In the April 6, 2011 email Baas states: “Do we need to start messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should.”

The cynical attempt by Baas – who was conversing at the time with, according to the article, “a group of conservative operatives” – to manipulate public opinion by making stuff up, without any evidence of actual voter fraud, is dark and disturbing. The entire Voter ID effort on the part of the state GOP is based on nearly non-existent voter fraud (one report I read suggests there have been 30 cases statewide since 2008!) and is directly causing voter suppression among the poor, seniors, and even students.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has indicated that the price tag to put in place Voter ID has cost taxpayers about $6 million so far. What a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.

We could have saved the $6 million, or we could have used $6 million for protecting children in Milwaukee and across the state from lead poisoning. We could have used the money to increase education and outreach to encourage people to vote. Or, we could have used $6 million to help get voters to the polls, to improve voting locations and equipment, or for a whole myriad of other helpful and productive measures.

I have a suggestion for the MMAC and for Baas: It would be great if you could help directly fund City of Milwaukee community outreach to encourage voting, and it would be most helpful if you can help fund the expansion of our in-person absentee voting sites and hours (which have helped thousands of voters more easily take part in our elections and our democratic process).

Let’s see your action, and your funding, outdo your cynicism.

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5 thoughts on “Leaked documents show waste of millions just to stir GOP voters”

  1. I am a senior and have an ID says:

    $6 million spent on voter ID to keep non-citizens from voting is cheap. I am tired of hearing how my vote may be cancelled out by a non-citizen or people voting more than once. Liberals keep crying about voter suppression for minorities and students. All these people need to do is get out to a place to get the proper ID BEFORE they vote. Is that so hard? As far as spending this money on lead in the water…how about Barrett taking money for a trolley in Milwaukee instead of money for lead in water. How about him having a plan for this trolley but no plan at all for fixing the lead in the water problem? This is what people get when they keep voting in the same people election after election and expecting different results. That’s called insanity.

  2. PT says:

    Hey Senior with an ID – You’ve been listening to way too much right wing radio. There is no voter fraud. Obviously you’ve been ginned up as Bass wanted. He got the desired results. And then we have your false streetcar narrative. How many times do I have to repeat that the streetcar money could not have been used for projects like lead pipe replacement.

  3. WashCoRepub says:

    Agreed, Senior with an ID. The most dangerous thing about voter fraud is that successful voter fraud would rarely, if ever, be successfully found. If it was ever found after the fact, it would be too late to affect an election and the results wouldn’t be overturned.
    Successful shoplifting wouldn’t be found until an inventory reconciliation would be performed. So why should we have laws against it? Why should there be security and surveillance, if it ‘never happens?’
    Smart means vigilant in this case, to protect a precious right, the pillar of democracy.

  4. Tom D says:

    @Senior with an ID (post 1):

    Wisconsin’s Voter ID does not “keep non-citizens from voting”. A military ID is valid for voting, but the US Military takes (documented) non-citizen residents into its ranks. Likewise, Wisconsin issues driver’s licenses and non-driver IDs to non-citizens with certain visas.

    If you have the right kind of birth certificate (not all birth certificates count), getting an ID is fairly simple provided you can get to a DMV office (not so easy if you don’t drive or can’t get off work during DMV hours—except for Madison, for example, no DMV office opens weekends).

    But if you don’t have the right kind of certificate, you can be caught in a catch-22, since some states won’t issue a birth certificate without already having a state ID (or in appearing in person). And if you must travel to another state to get your birth certificate, how do you get there? You can’t fly and you can’t drive! (Even Greyhound and Amtrak say they require photo IDs for passengers.) Should you spend hundreds of dollars to take a cab or do you expect people to walk hundreds of miles to retain the right to vote?

  5. Senior with an ID says:

    Let’s put it out this way as a scavenger hunt. If you are one of those people who believe it is not possible for people to get an ID to vote, please prove it. Let’s see some examples please.

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