Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

GOP Goal Less Access for Democratic Voters

But you have to sift through media coverage of trial testimony for the story.

By - Jun 2nd, 2016 12:44 pm
Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel still has by far the biggest staff of reporters in the state, but that’s sometimes hard to believe based on its cursory coverage of the issues.

Take the lawsuit before Federal Judge James Peterson and launched by the liberal One Wisconsin Institute and Citizen Action of Wisconsin. They argue that changes in election law by the Republican-led legislature were intentionally done to make it harder for minorities to cast ballots. The photo ID requirement is one such measure, but the suit also points to list of other changes adopted over the past five years.

Those changes include “a reduction in early voting from 30 days before an election to 12 days, the limiting of the hours that voting can take place and the restricting of early voting to one location per municipality,” as an Associated Press story reported, with a clarity I didn’t find in the Journal Sentinel account.

To help rebut the discrimination claims, the state brought testimony from clerks for the cities of Cedarburg and Port Washington, who said the voting laws had generally worked well in their communities. “From the start, we have had virtually no problems at all,” said Waukesha County clerk Kathleen Novack.

But that testimony is a double-edged sword, showing the new rules worked well in heavily white, heavily Republican areas, but leaving the question whether it thus gave them an advantage over urban areas with high minority and Democratic voting patterns. Two elections experts from urban cities testified that this was indeed happening. Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl detailed how the election law changes created delays at polling places and prevented voters from casting ballots. And Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Neil Albrecht testified that in the 2016 presidential primary election the turnout percentage in the city lagged trailed the statewide average by nearly 10 percent, a gap far higher than in 2008, when it was less than two percent.

While the press covered the testimony of the Republican clerks, they didn’t give any coverage of their counterparts from Milwaukee and Madison. Worse, the Journal Sentinel account, which led with the testimony by suburban clerks, didn’t report a choice “gotcha” moment, when Novack testified that weekend voting gave “over-access … to particular parts of the state” and “too much access to the voters as far as opportunities.”

This is someone whose job is make sure all who want to vote do so, and she is arguing against that mission, in favor of reducing access to voting. That’s remarkable. And yet the Journal Sentinel didn’t report this, though the much-smaller-staffed Cap Times did so on on that same day. Yes, the Cap Times is Democratic, liberal-leaning paper, but for a journalist any gotcha moment is something you jump on. So why didn’t JS reporter Jason Stein?

By contrast, the Journal Sentinel did report another revealing moment at the trial, when Judge Peterson expressed serious concern about voters unable to get IDs needed to vote because they lack birth certificates or other key documents. “These people are stuck and stuck hard,” he said. That might betray a judge leaning in favor of the liberal litigants, or may show how powerful was the evidence they presented. Either way, it’s newsworthy, just as the testimony by Novack was.

There was no media coverage of the testimony by elections expert Kenneth Mayer, whose analysis found this: “In 2010, the last statewide election in which late weekend registration was permitted in the 3 days before an election, significantly more people registered over this period in municipalities with higher African American population concentrations. This relationship holds even after removing Milwaukee from the analysis, and controlling for municipality size.”

In addition, he concluded: “Turnout in student wards (…that include or are nearby colleges and universities, and which have large concentrations of 18-24 year old registrants) dropped significantly between 2010 and 2014.”

Nor did the media report the testimony of elections expert Barry Burden, whose comparison of the 2010 and 2014 elections showed the disparity in turnout between blacks and whites grew from 3.8 percentage points in 2010 to 11.3 points in 2014. The disparity between Latinos and whites grew from 17.9 points in 2010 to 28.8 points in 2014.

Novack’s testimony echoed the claims of Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) that reducing early voting hours would “level the playing field” between urban and other areas. But in fact the game was already tilted against big cities. Prior to the law’s passage, the percentage of voters showing up early to vote was much higher in suburbs and small towns: it was 34.5 percent in Whitefish Bay, 28.2 percent in Menasha, 26.5 percent in Brookfield, 26 percent in Port Washington, 25.8 percent in Oconomowoc and 25.3 percent in New Berlin — all much higher than Milwaukee’s 12.6 percent or Madison’s 12.5 percent.

As the suburban clerks testified, there were no problems for voters in those areas under the new rules. By contrast, Madison had 182,859 registered voters for the 2012 presidential race, or 37 times more than Delafield, but by law is required to handle all in-person early voters at one place.

The restrictions in hours for early voting, combined with the one-polling-place requirement, meant that people voting early in Big Bend would have 47 minutes per person to vote while in Milwaukee you would have a person voting every nine seconds.

The threadbare justification for reducing access to voting amounts to a confession by Republican leaders that they can’t win an election that provides equal access to all voters. Which in the case of the presidential election, has been true since 1984, for more than three decades.

But in a nation that is rapidly moving to a majority-minority population, the Republicans in this state are sending a message to black and Hispanic voters that they want to do everything possible to make it more difficult for them to vote. In the case of black voters, who were systematically disenfranchised as voters for most of American history, it’s a shockingly ugly strategy. Whatever the short-term payoff, it may make GOP candidates anathema to minority voters for decades to come.

Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

78 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: GOP Goal Less Access for Democratic Voters”

  1. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Yes, they do not want the dems to vote more than once, vote dead people and bring people up from Illinois to vote.
    How come the areas with Voter ID are setting records for voting? Cause people know that their vote will count,t for once ,and fraud, like outlined by police will not void theirs.

  2. Jason says:

    Mr. Murphy where I live in Glendale. I can not vote after 5 pm during the work week. I could not vote on Saturday. I also can not call to have a corporate union van to pick me up and drop me off at my polling site and then take me home. I can not call MATC to take me to my polling office. I did not receive a free meal or Cigarettes. This can and does happen in the city of Milwaukee before 2010.

  3. Jay Bullock says:

    In the lead-up to the voter ID and other restrictions, conservatives claimed (as Donal does above) that Democratic strongholds Milwaukee and Madison were hotbeds of fraud. Yet when I ran the numbers comparing 2016 Democratic primary turnout to 2008, to see if pre- and post-ID law turnouts were any different in these allegedly fraud-ridden cities, it turned out Milwaukee Democrats had about even turnout in both years, and Madison Democrats had higher turnout this year than in 2008.

    (My column is here:

    The big test will be this fall, of course, when expanded early voting hours would really help the overwhelmed clerks in the single City Hall office available to all the registered voters in Milwaukee and the casual voters who only vote in November elections will discover their IDs are not on the restrictive list of approved IDs and can’t vote.

    But it certainly seems to me that if Democrats used to have dead people and busses full of Illinoisans voting in elections, turnout should have been down this year, after these laws went into effect. That it wasn’t provides pretty convincing evidence that fraud was always in the Republicans’ imaginations rather than in reality.

  4. Paul says:

    On the other hand, Jason, you can probably vote after work and not be late for dinner.

  5. Jake says:

    Democracy is antithesis to conservatives. Access is the first thing to go for these facists.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    Not sure where you vote Jason but I live in Glendale and I can vote after 5pm on a weekday.

    Driving people to vote? That should be a felony. We don’t want “those people” voting.

  7. Jake says:

    Also, with the gerrymandering of voting districts, it is 100% fact that WI Republicans are guilty of election fraud. I wouldn’t except WI conservative digest guy to have the spine or principles to condemn those actions, because as we know he and his right wing hacks are fascists.

  8. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    GOP is selling crying towels for the Left. Tony Earl taught us how to gerrymander, he set the precedent. we are now set for next century, so move to Ill.

  9. Vincent Hanna says:

    Some guy did something decades ago so the GOP doing wrong is totally fine. Great logic WCD. I always tell my kids that two wrongs make a right.

  10. Jake says:

    I like how WCD is fine with stacking the deck. Maybe you should move to North Korea. Fascism is alive and well there.

  11. Jason says:

    Vince, let me get this straight. During the two week period before the election a Glendale government employee stays after there work day to serve you. I find that hard to believe. Who is paying their overtime? On the other hand Tom Barrett can not fix the roads in Milwaukee but he has plenty of overtime money come election season.

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    Jason why are you so hostile to the idea of Milwaukee residents voting? It seems like because you don’t like how they vote you are fine with making it as difficult as humanly possible for them to do so. Or just preventing them from doing so.

  13. Jason says:

    Vince is this not a battle of ideas. What really is fairness in voting?

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    Fairness is not gleefully attempting to make it as difficult as possible for minorities to vote that’s for sure.

  15. Jason Novak says:

    If were talking about Gerrymandering please see the map Milwaukee County Supervisors drew up. Democrats do it too.

  16. Ron says:

    Jason is wrong. From a 2014 report on the history of Wisconsin gerrymandering:

    > After the 1960 census, the Republican legislature and two Democratic governors failed to agree on state legislative districts. Eventually, the state Supreme Court intervened and drew new maps. After the 1970 census, a Democratic governor, a Democratic assembly and Republican senate were deadlocked again over new maps. The state Supreme Court threatened again to draw new lines before lawmakers reached a compromise. In the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s divided governments faced the same challenges, the same deadlock and the same involvement from the courts. That all changed in 2011. For the first time in generations, there was no divided government. Republicans controlled the assembly, the senate and the governor’s office.

  17. Vincent Hanna says:

    Wouldn’t you prefer a system like Iowa’s then? I mean people had to sign a loyalty pledge just to see the maps Republicans drew up. That tells you something is wrong.

  18. Jason says:

    Ron, not sure what I am wrong about. The map made by Milwaukee County Supervisors(Democrats) after 2010 pushed large amounts of voters that tend to vote conservative into Super districts similar to what Wisconsin state legislators did. The Democrats eliminated their opposition what is wrong with that.

  19. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Left has gerrymandered Conservatives out for years, and the Journal other say nothing. Why do you think Milwaukee is such a mess?

  20. Ron says:

    Unfortunately, state law as it has meekly stood for years says redistricting doesn’t have to be apolitical. However, redistricting does have to take into account equitable representation for minorities.

    So, for example, the GOP’s state redistricting after the 2010 census was changed slightly by federal court order because the GOP scheme illegally carved up Hispanic voting areas in Milwaukee County. That’s in contrast to the actions of the county board’s redistricting committee in 2011, which preserved Hispanic and African American district integrity as per the law, raising the ire of suburban conservatives.

    Starting when Scott Walker served as county executive, political pressure rose to downsize the board of supervisors, which consistently reshaped his irresponsible budgets and often overturned his vetoes. The number of supervisors was cut from 25 to 19 in 2004, and cut by one more seat in 2011. When these outcomes didn’t suffice to reduce non-Republican power in the county, the GOP legislature (with the addition of a displaced, former Republican county supervisor, clearly out for revenge) proceeded to greatly weaken the county board and give the GOP-friendly county executive far more power — but nothing for us to see there, apparently.

    It seems to me Republicans simultaneously have it in their heads that Milwaukee County Board downsizing is good but also bad, because *they* weren’t in charge of reshaping board districts so that more conservative and suburban supervisors would prevail over districts serving minorities — which is as I said, clearly is against the law.

    Republicans clearly were unhappy Democratic-leaning supervisors on the board would redistrict, even though it was in a way that was not only legal for purposes of minority representation but also legally preserved their modest majority. But, hypocritically and simultaneously, those Republicans were quite happy to more greatly serve themselves across the entire state — such that Dems collected 200,000 more votes overall in one later statewide election yet won only a weak minority of all seats. The will of the voters be damned.

    The thing is, we could completely resolve Republican internal tension over these conflicting needs if the state legislature simply would follow the Milwaukee County Board’s recent example and turn all future reapportionment over to a panel of impartial judges. Yeah, I won’t be holding my breath.

    Finally, as I noted in my earlier post, it’s historically true that on the state level, Wisconsin Democrats have not in modern history attempted any state legislative reapportionment design to matched the sweepingly partisan scope of what the GOP did in 2011. Analysis has shown that the GOP’s reapportionment was not only partisan, but hyper-partisan, producing the most gerrymandered result in recorded Wisconsin history, and in modern U.S. history.

    It’s fair to argue Democrats never tried for a hyper-partisan reapportionment because they never held complete political power and did not have the opportunity to be as self-serving as the current GOP hegemony. Well, neither Democrats or Republicans in power prior to 2011 ever tried this stunt. But even stipulating that Dems *would* have tried it if they had sufficient votes, that just returns us to the question of why Wisconsin can’t have a statewide redistricting process that is totally neutral, a system already in place in Iowa and one that will be in place for the next reapportionment in mostly Democratic Milwaukee County.

  21. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Sorry Ron, but Tony Earl di d,when ad chance and the left would do exactly the same. Change Constitution, Let the Pope do it.

  22. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Totally neutral, thats funny.

  23. David Nelson says:

    WCD: “Yes, they do not want the dems to vote more than once, vote dead people and bring people up from Illinois to vote.”

    Really? Show evidence that much of this happens. Time after time, it has been shown that voting fraud by voters is extremely rare.

    Voting fraud is usually pursued by interfering with the voting process through limiting access, undersupplying election sites etc.

    Why not talk about the real fraud?

  24. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Read the Police report handed out to press kin spit of Barrett/Flynn trying to suppress. Left has refused to prosecute voter fraud when given to them for decades.

  25. David Nelson says:

    And which report would that be?

    You need to do a couple things to appear forthright and informed:

    + Provide a link to said report. Just saying it is suppressed might be a ploy to claim the existence of something which does not exist. At least provide credible source for a paper trail. Breitbart is not an example of a credible source.

    + Show multiple instances of the the fraud you claim, because frankly, in a region as big as Milwaukee, one case does not make your point. Logically, a single anecdotal instance supports the opposition viewpoint. To engage in the type of voter suppression we have seen in Wisconsin, you must provide a chain of evidence which includes a significant percentage of the voting public. 0.00001% will not establish the need for the kind of measures supported by the Governor and his folks. Those cost money, limit access, and skew voting results.

  26. old baldy says:


    Your old “Tony Earl did it too” chant has been debunked numerous times, even on this blog. Try a new trick.

  27. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    David you people are so damn lazy, but ha,ve lots of opinions, do not know what is going on, do no research and then hand out orders cause they are to lazy, or stupid to do their homework. The repot was given by the police to the Journal it was headlines. Journal checked out. Barrett/Flynn had big bird. Bruce Murphy knows about it. It was very extensive about multiple cases and problems. You argue here with nothing in your brain except opinions. Grow up.
    No wonder milwaukee is in shape that it is in only peoel dumber than the leaders is the ones that elect them. we clean stuff up around here, teach out kids arrest criminals, fix things. Our kids can read.
    Come back when you grow up.

  28. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Bruce knows what happened, even Tommy and the records show that, but the people on this site only have opinions they are too stupid to find the facts.

  29. David Nelson says:

    “Because voter fraud is essentially irrational, it is not surprising that no credible evidence suggests a voter fraud epidemic. There is no documented wave or trend of individuals voting multiple times, voting as someone else, or voting despite knowing that they are ineligible. Indeed, evidence from the microscopically scrutinized 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State actually reveals just the opposite: though voter fraud does happen, it happens approximately 0.0009% of the time. The similarly closely-analyzed 2004 election in Ohio revealed a voter fraud rate of 0.00004%. National Weather Service data shows that Americans are struck and killed by lightning about as often.”

    Here’s an article which gives some little detail about electoral scofflaws from a four year period. Not all of these involve multiple voting. Whew, a real epidemic. It is not clear which of the actual voters among these people would vote Dem and which GOP.

    Here’s another which shows someone using the insanity defense to explain why he voted multiple times in multiple instances. I understand him to be a Republican voter.

    Maybe you are referring to the controversy surrounding allegations by Milwaukee ADA Bruce Landgraf and former detective Mike Sandvick, some of which is covered in this article (not an opinion piece). Most allegations made by those folks have never been substantiated as far as I know: “Flynn said his department investigated the cases and had cleared most of them, finding that many of the irregularities stemmed from errors by voters or poll workers, rather than deliberate attempts at fraud.” and “But the probes are extremely time-consuming, said Flynn and Lt. David Salazar, commander of the department’s special investigations unit. For example, Salazar said, checking out each allegation of fraud by voter registrars can involve up to 60 interviews, comparable to a murder investigation.”

  30. Jay Bullock says:

    The MPD report on the 2004 general election in Milwaukee alleged tens of thousands of votes that a task force, unauthorized to release such a report, declared fraudulent. The reality is almost all of them were clerical errors. The Center for Media and Democracy has a good rundown of what the report said and why it was wrong here:

  31. Bruce Murphy says:

    Yes, WCD, I am aware of 2004 report, which was an unauthorized, anonymous report that was lacking in specifics and was 12 years ago; there have been many changes in how elections have been handled since then predating the Walker era. In any event, this column is about restrictions on early voting, not about photo ID. Never a bad idea to stick to the subject when debating issues.

  32. leah says:

    Nobody who defends these reforms can seem anything but ridiculous.

    To defend that all municipalities are limited to only one early voting site, regardless of population, is indefensible. Are all municipalities limited to only one library? one police precinct? one fire station? The idea of serving citizens proportional to their numbers is at the very basis of public service. The concept of one “man”-one vote assumes that each person is afforded the same access to the ballot box. To allow one location for a village of 1000 and one location for a city of 600,000 people may be equal, but it’s inherently unfair. How can an intelligent person defend that?

    I try, I really try, to believe that conservatives are good people just like the rest of us–They just have a different ideas about government. However when they propose, pass and defend blatantly partisan, political and harmful legislation like this it’s hard to have any respect for them. Will one Republican please stand up and say “yes, of course we know it’s unfair. Of course we know it will reduce voting among minority and voters democratic leaning voters. But while we’re in power we’re going to do everything we can to stay in power, even if it means making it more difficult for citizens to vote”
    Then at least I will know you’re not all robotic idiots.

  33. David Nelson says:

    Ron, Jay, Bruce, and Leah all made insightful responses which refer to principles, lucid concepts, and/or actual sources of information. I hope the name calling regarding intelligence can stop now. It’s nowhere near as valuable as sound reasoning.

  34. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Milwaukee police report is anonymous? Boy that is good one. Clarke and I thoroughly review it talked to the people and it was authorized by people but not Flynn cause they know what goes on. Barrett/Flynn, corked bastard that they are that have cause this crime wave would have killed it but too late it go to the press, then the press researched it and published it. End os that fable Bruce.

  35. Dohnal says:

    How did we ever gt along, for over 100 years ,when peoplehad to vote on election day unless they had excuse?

  36. Vincent Hanna says:

    Oh well if WCD and Clarke reviewed it that’s good enough for me. Case closed. No further comments needed.

  37. Ron says:

    Wisconsin conservative digest rewinds his tape again and says, over and over in hopes we’ll just cave, that (and I quote verbatim): “Sorry Ron, but Tony Earl di d,when ad chance and the left would do exactly the same.”

    But asserting it constantly doesn’t make it more true, and it’s not true to begin with. As Bruce Murphy wrote right here on this site not so long ago:

    > As for the idea that Wisconsin’s Republicans are only doing what Democrats before them did, that couldn’t be more untrue. The state’s highest Democratic efficiency gap since 1972 was just 2 percent in 1994, Jackman found. The current Republican advantage is at least five times larger. (And even if Democrats had ever gained such an advantage, the reason for reform is to make sure that all voters, regardless of party, have their votes count equally.)

    > But what about that egregious redistricting by Gov. Earl? Stephanopolous reviewed the data for me and found that the Republicans had a 3.8 percent efficiency gap in 1982 and after the relatively minor changes made by Earl and the Democrats, that changed to a 2.4 percent GOP advantage in 1984. Throughout the 1980s, the Democrats never had an efficiency gap advantage.

    So let’s rewind OUR tape so that maybe the truth begins to sink in: “Throughout the 1980s, the Democrats never had an efficiency gap advantage.” “Throughout the 1980s, the Democrats never had an efficiency gap advantage.” “Throughout the 1980s, the Democrats never had an efficiency gap advantage.”

  38. David Nelson says:

    Dohnal: Well. If you assume that corruption has only existed in recent times, and that everyone had great access to polls on election day way back in the day, then what you wrote makes perfect sense. However, neither of those assumptions would be correct.

  39. Bruce Murphy says:

    WCD, so you’re saying this 2004 report had a named author. Who was that?

  40. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    There were several authors, they worked on it, it is accurate, ask Clarks, but i do not list sources or the Barrett/Flynn people will have them guarding the dump.
    Milwaukee is not a growing disaster by accident, it comes down to leadership and the people typical of you people on thisi blog. That is who destroyed Detroit, Cleveland.

  41. Vincent Hanna says:

    That’s priceless. It has authors but they can’t be named. Why shouldn’t we trust that?

  42. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    It was done by police and we know how the Left hates the police. Call Clarke, he will vouch and you know it is right if Barrett/Flynn wanted to suppress it.

  43. Blaine says:

    Bruce, I appreciate your reporting. Just to clarify, this article was about the changes in early voting from 30 days before an election to 12 days before an election, correct? I skimmed through the comments and wonder if I missed something?

  44. David Nelson says:

    WCD: What does this mean? “I do not list sources or the Barrett/Flynn people will have them guarding the dump.”

    We can hardly take your word for this if we can’t see the report and who wrote it.

  45. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    I have been writing newspaper columns for 50 plus years in all newsmedia. I do not disclose sources cause Barrett/Flynn are waiting to drown these guys. Bruce read the report, course at his age he cannot remember anything. it is accurate. I think Journal might have copy. ask David Calrke.

  46. David Nelson says:

    Has It Come To This: A Parable

    My brother and I used to be among those who would play this card game which had all sorts of rules including additional instructions on each card. Beyond that, each player would construct their own deck from some variable pool of available cards. To say it was complex is an understatement. When describing the game to other people, we’d say it’s kind of like physics. The person who understands the rules best, and has access to the best cards usually wins.

    One of the guys we played with years ago liked the game, although he didn’t understand it very well. He was okay with the idea of winners and losers, and having rules, but he was also quick to cry out if the game didn’t go his way, “Hey! You guys are cheatin’!” Actually, we were not cheating. The rest of us largely took our lumps without complaint when we did lose.

    Most of us also understood that this card game was not Life. Not really. It was just a hobby. Still, we’d agree sometimes to not use our better cards in order to make the game a bit more fun for the guy who hated losing. Mind you, this was not Life, but some small part of life. Being decent did not cost us money, or even prestige (other than within our small circle of geeks).

    Politics is not entirely like playing cards, although the rule of law and workings of society are complex and form their own sort of physics. Those who understand this best and have the best cards (i.e., money, education, political connections, being the right color, gender or religion) win much more often than those who do not. Unlike in a card game, this is not a good thing. In fact, it is nowhere near fair or right.

    Yet, WCD would have us believe that only the Democrats/Liberals cheat at politics, and that he should be able to play the game without revealing the cards he claims produce a win for his side (like providing access to his sources and the names of the authors). He implies that would be imprudent because we are cheaters. In other words, his understanding of law, society, and kind consideration of others appears quite limited, and like the bad sport who frequently lost at cards, anyone not on his side is a cheat. For WCD, that “fact” justifies bad behavior and the use of double standards.

    Now the Internet is a wild and wooly place. It is certainly true that most of us are wrong or even dishonest part of the time. It is also impossible to single out one political group or philosophy as being right all the time. This makes thinking, arguing, and deciding what to do difficult.

    But WCD, couldn’t you try just a little harder?

  47. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    No, David Nelson, WCD is truly that lazy. That’s why the senile fool wastes time trolling here and continuing to spout long-disproven lies about illegal voting. The biggest case of willful illegal voting in this state was done by a Republican in the 2012 recall elections. This is a FACT, and you don’t get to say otherwise.

    As Bruce accurately points out, what’s disgusting about these voter suppression laws is that they were so clearly slanted toward having fewer Dems vote by having more barriers to Dem constituencies. It is ridiculous that the big-population cities of Milwaukee and Madison have the same number of early voting places and early voting hours as some bumpkin town of 2,000. That’s mathematically WRONG.

    The testimony of how scum like Gross-man and ALEC Vukmir were trying to restrict Wisconsinites’ voices through this shows that this was done with malice, and that and the one-sidedness of these laws is why they will likely be thrown out. A better question is “How can any decent, patriotic American allow for the rights of their fellow citizen to be impeded and taken away?”

    Serious question. Do any of you Republicans own a mirror?

  48. David Nelson says:

    I hear you Jake. Still, I’d prefer to save the vitriol for bad behavior, rather than use words like senile and especially bumpkin. One of the reasons Walker made it to where he is today was by driving a wedge between rural and urban. That wedge wouldn’t work if city and country folk weren’t already biased toward each other. He basically pulled the wool over the eyes of many. Unfortunately, once you’ve been fooled, it’s hard to admit it, cuz… pride.

    Add in a dollop of intolerance and voila, a state going down the tubes.

  49. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Anytime I get down and want lift, just come to this site and listen to the no achievement whiners, and losers, that are running Milwaukee into the ground
    Voter suppression?? We set record every year. Spring election biggest ever. People in the state now realize that their vote will count, as the Milwaukee Left will not be able do steal elections.
    Across country Voter ID has seen voter participation go up 20%. Some suppression. Inner city vote highest ever.
    AS fro trolling, we have the biggest Conservative following site in state getting over 100 entries and up to 150,000 postings per week but they are by intelligent peoel seeking answers to problems while Milwaukee builds roles Arenas fro billionaires. Wonder why out state does not support Milwaukee? That’s why!!!!!

  50. Vincent Hanna says:

    Your site visits doesn’t mean you aren’t a troll. You wonder why people don’t take you seriously? You are an elderly man calling people losers and racists online (among other names). Think about that. What does that say about someone?

  51. Marie says:

    Grass Roots North Shore is hosting a talk Sun. June 5 by John Nichols of the Capital Times on “Is Democracy Dead in Wisconsin?”

    I suspect he will have insights about voter suppression.

  52. Virginia Small says:

    Jay Bullock (#30),

    Thanks for linking to the report that debunks the 2004 anonymous “study” that was actually based on clerical errors.

    12 years later and the fiction is still being trotted out as fact. Just proves Mark Twain’s adage about lies.

  53. Virginia Small says:

    Twain had more than one quote about lies. I meant this one:

    “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    ― Mark Twain

  54. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Yes, the Left tells us that the police are cowards and liars, no wonder Milwaukee in crime wave. No leaders.

  55. David Nelson says:

    I’ll repeat Bullock’s link to the of the 2004 study which debunks what WCD claims:

  56. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Everyone has read thatt Left wing hack job on the cops. it is funny, it is so worthless. Reason why there have been so many conditions is that McCann would not prosecute any people, that were democrats, as he believed that democrat were meant to run the govt. In 40 years we pointed out lots of problems particlualrly in group homes and he refused to do anything. Making sure elections are fair and honest is the most important thing in a democracy. Going from one day with some absentee to what we have now gives everyone incredible chances to vote. Voter participation’s way up in central city compared to 1970.

  57. Jacob Miller says:

    David- Now do you see what I meant about WCD? And he’s been ranting this fact-free garbage for years on this site for several years. You can’t reason with weak-minded trash like that, you can only expose him as a fraud to others.

    And since some WisGOP politicians still hang with Dumb Dohnal, the party apparently is cool with his type of dog whistles and dishonesty. Which speaks volumes now, doesn’t it?

  58. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    David, Jacob, just babble all the time. Funny thing about facts, as Winston said: they are just there. Cops did study of frFud in Milwaukee, that is fact.
    Everything else is dumb opinions from Bruce and everyone. Do a study, it will show lots of big questions. We have done that.
    Fraud in Milwaukee has been rampant for years. We have reported t. Gwen Moore’s kid slashes our tires and press coddles him. Then we force everyone to be honest,all we hear is big whine.

  59. Jay Bullock says:

    Yes, Dohnal, the “press coddles” Moore’s son so much his conviction for tire slashing is in the lede of every story about him. So much coddling it tanked his last campaign.

    The MPD report on “frFud” (as you say; come on, man, get a browser with autocorrect already) in Milwaukee was thoroughly checked by the Brennan Center for Justice in addition to local reporters. The cops pointed to people whom they believe voted fraudulently. More than 99% of those cases of “fraud” turned out to be clerical errors, like missing apartment numbers on registration forms or transpositions of street address numbers. A few people were convicted from 2004, mostly those who submitted false registrations (none of those false registrants voted) and those who voted while still on parole, including one man who used his Department of Corrections “felon” ID to register and was not told he would not be allowed to vote.

    The report’s accusations led to no arrests, prosecutions, or convictions for in-person voter fraud. The “big questions” were answered and they were answered with a resounding “THERE IS NO ORGANIZED VOTER FRAUD IN MILWAUKEE.” Even the Bush-appointed US Attorney couldn’t find any fraud. This isn’t people choosing to ignore said MPD report and its conclusions; it’s people trying to verify the accusations in it and saying that it’s full of hot air. Bruce Murphy will tell you–as will Spivak and Bice, who tried to run down real fraud based on that report–that there was no collusion or bias against MPD. Rather, the MPD accusations turned out to be simply wrong when thoroughly investigated.

    Yet I am sure you will go to your grave believing the MPD report despite its having been debunked over and over and over again.

  60. AG says:

    Hold on… that report was not 99% accounted for in clerical errors. Only roughly 60% was. There were still literally thousands of votes cast than people who voted that even after examining and discounting for errors could not be explained. The part of the report that was discounted by the chief and others was the recommendations NOT the factual findings. Even the brennen analysis couldnt explain away thousands of extra votes in heavily democrat areas.

    WCD may be kind of a nut, but just because he talks about a report doesnt always relegate it automatically to the discard bin.

  61. Vincent Hanna says:

    As Jay noted, the report’s accusations led to no arrests, prosecutions, or convictions for in-person voter fraud. Back when it was released what did Republicans have to say about it? Were they calling for prosecutions? If that report is so accurate and reputable, why don’t Republicans mention it more when defending voter ID? Also AG why do you put so much weight in that one report yet ignore or downplay the countless investigations and studies that show there is no voter fraud problem in Wisconsin or anywhere else? You act like one report is gospel because it fits your view and then you act like the countless others that counter your view are severely flawed or worthless. That’s BS man.

  62. AG says:

    Vincent, the only reason the “no voter fruad exists” talking point exists is because few convictions come forward because its very hard to prove and even when one has clear proof it is still often seen as not worth it. If you read the report, even though it mainly points at very questionable stats, they did find a number of cases with atrong evidence of specific fraud but prosecutors still didnt pursue it because they didnt think it was worth it. Further, most cases would actually be election fraud anyway which helps play into the voter fraud talking point.

    If we used your criteria for if something exists then we can safelt say police murdering unarmed blacks never happens because we have almost never seen a conviction.

  63. Jay Bullock says:

    AG, that’s not true. There were not “thousands of extra votes in heavily [Democratic] areas” that were unaccounted for.

    1. From
    “A recent investigation by the Milwaukee Police Department highlights the same pattern. After the 2004 election, initial media accounts featured front-page allegations of widespread fraud in Wisconsin. On February 26, 2008, the Milwaukee Police Department released a report on that election, with what appears to be a painstaking investigation of the facts, and policy recommendations offered with less care and disavowed by the Milwaukee Police Chief. The department’s careful factual investigation primarily revealed administrative mistakes and, occasionally, negligence. It showed that much of what had originally been identified as potential fraud was in fact due to clerical error. It also uncovered several votes by potentially ineligible individuals, including some who were allegedly nonresidents, and some who had allegedly been rendered ineligible due to convictions. The report revealed only one potential vote that might have involved in-person impersonation fraud, with no documentation verifying that the vote in question was actually cast.”

    2. From
    “In Wisconsin in 2004, after an attempt to match voters’ addresses to a postal service list, 1,242 votes in Milwaukee were alleged to be fraudulent; many of these allegations were later traced to data entry errors or to legitimate residences that were presumed to be business addresses. 5,800 additional Election Day registrants were sent undeliverable postcards, but many of these postcards were returned because the voters legitimately moved after the election. We are aware of no substantiated reports of any votes cast by individuals fraudulently registered at invalid addresses. […] The 2004 election was hotly contested in Wisconsin, and various irregularities led to inflated claims of widespread fraud. The allegations yielded only seven substantiated cases of individuals knowingly casting invalid votes that counted–all persons with felony convictions. This amounts to a rate of 0.0025% within Milwaukee and 0.0002% within the state as a whole. None of these problems could have been resolved by requiring photo ID at the polls.”

    3. From
    “According to the Brennan Center’s analysis, there were allegedly 8,300 more ballots cast in Milwaukee than individuals processed, but the discrepancy was later attributed to administrative error. Of the 37,180 people in Milwaukee who were originally reported to have voted from invalid addresses, 31,500 actually just had problems with an apartment number. In other cases, data entry errors turned perfectly valid addresses into invalid ones. The rest of the allegedly invalid addresses were thrown out for lack of proof — and in any case, voters would have had to show proof of residency in order to cast ballots.

    A computer glitch in Milwaukee caused at least 314 voters to be listed twice on the rolls, and around 59 people were alleged to have voted twice — but it turns out that most registered twice but voted only once. All the supposedly “dead voters” voted early with absentee ballots but died within two weeks of the election. One ballot was cast in the name of an individual who did not vote, but further investigation showed this was the result of error by a poll worker. […]

    The Brennan Center analysis identified a fraud rate of only .0002 percent in the 2004 elections, and none of the improper voting allegations would have been prevented by requiring photo ID at the polls.”

  64. Jay Bullock says:

    AG, that’s just not true. There was an 8300-ballot discrepancy uncovered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, after an investigation by the Bush-appointed US attorney, was found to be an administrative error and not evidence of fraud. The Brennan Center’s review of the police report found 85% of the alleged fraudulent voting addresses were missing an apartment number! The Brennan Center’s final analysis found there was at most a .0002% fraud rate in Milwaukee in 2004, mostly from voting felons.

    (I posted a longer, link-heavy version of this comment, but I think it got stuck in moderation or the ether or wherever such things go. Anyway, the Brennan Center analysis, like the Journal Sentinel reporting of the ballot discrepancy and its resolution, are all google-able.)

  65. wisconsin conservative digestn says:

    Why is the Left so concerned about getting more votes? When they have power, like under Doyle, they just screw everything up. At least Walker and GOP solve some problems, mostly have to spend time fixing the Lefty messes that Bruce Murphy is incapable of talking about as Walker hater.
    In Milwaukee you have complete control of the dopey Milwaukee county , MPS and inept Barrett. Took him ten years to build a worthless trolley.
    jay Bullock, intelligent man. Why don’t you take all of these clowns on this site, and Bruce Murphy and teach some kids to read this site? Your MPS friends cannot even do that for 3rd graders. They do that all across world, even Bangladesh.

  66. Jay Bullock says:

    So, Dohnal, just to be clear: When proven wrong about voter fraud in Milwaukee, your response is deflection and name-calling? Gotcha.

  67. BK says:

    I love how WCD tells us about all of his intelligent followers, but he has to be one of the least intelligent people in these comment threads. Case in point:

    “AS fro trolling, we have the biggest Conservative following site in state getting over 100 entries and up to 150,000 postings per week but they are by intelligent peoel seeking answers to problems while Milwaukee builds roles Arenas fro billionaires. Wonder why out state does not support Milwaukee? That’s why!!!!!”

    He can’t even spell “people” right when referring to his intelligent people. Go spew your lies and rhetoric somewhere else.

  68. wisconsin conservative digestn says:

    Jay, as one of the leaders of the MPS system that is “National Disgrace” it is not worth giving you credibility as you have screwed up hundreds of thousands of kids, and have no plans to fix it.
    As for spelling I can do quite well but cannot type. This site is not worth going back and fixing things, for the numbskulls that offer no answers ,to all of Milwaukee problems, that you have created. Cannot blame GOP, Walker for this mess.Tthen try to blame them on voting, when voting the last 20 years is way up

  69. David Nelson says:

    WCD: Assuming you do not have a considerable disability which prevents you from typing clearly, why not try to improve grammar and spelling. I say this not in relation to political differences, but for practicality’s sake. Sometimes it is not possible to know what you actually mean. I think we all can agree that an argument benefits from clear statements regardless of position.

    Heck, I am still not a real typist after thirty years, so I proofread most of what I type.

  70. Vincent Hanna says:

    Have a little class and decency WCD. Can’t you disagree with people without insulting them and calling them names?

  71. AG says:

    If you really want facts, here are facts that are NOT in dispute by the Brennan Center or anyone else. These are all from the 2004 special investigation in Milwaukee. I repeat, NONE of these items below were disputed by the Brennan Center… they just gloss over them and lump them into the “mostly accounted for” category.

    Sorry this is so long… but if you really want the truth, here it is.

    51 people registered at city owned and social services locations that are ineligible. All registered by ACORN type groups leaving a very easy door for out of town election workers, who are otherwise ineligible to vote, access to vote in WI.
    There’s also hundreds of others registered at those addresses (only in 2004)
    Also, regarding hundreds of registered homeless voters with multiple registration locations, the transient nature of the homeless also provides a perfect opportunity for political action groups to provide “courtesy” rides to any district they’d like to vote in. Especially important when there are tight local races.

    Wards near universities had especially high “administrative errors” in the hundreds. One ward around UWM had roughly a 10% admin error rate. Voter ID laws would help correct this by forcing poll workers to verify address/identity w/ registration cards.
    The ward with Sandburg hall allowed over 100 more votes than people voting. In addition, people voted here who live outside of Milwaukee and they had no way to verify if they had voted absentee elsewhere. Voter ID would help with this.

    220-361 (depending on source) Felons voted in 2004 in Milwaukee alone. This is voter fraud

    4 felons even worked as poll workers registering voters. Two of them had been convicted the previous year of election fraud!

    66 people voted from non-existent addresses. They found these to be due to one of the following: Person didn’t live there at that time, address just didn’t exist (even after correcting for errors), was living outside Milwaukee, appeared to have voted more than once. The other “invalid” addresses from the 554 originally found invalid were due to admin errors. Voter ID would prevent almost all of this.

    A person voted who died 3 years prior. Voter ID would prevent this.

    One person just plain didn’t exist. Voter ID would prevent this.

    After eliminating false double votes, they did find 7 people voted in Milwaukee AND Chicago but because of all the admin errors in Milwaukee they didn’t think prosecution would likely win so no charges sought.

    In a sample of 5 voting wards, they found 29 voters who never even gave an address when they registered to vote. How does this happen? Voter ID would help with this.

    The absentee voter system in Milwaukee was seriously deficient. Many votes were from ineligible people or not counted at all but should have been. Milwaukee was not up to the task in 2004 for processing all the absentee votes.

    From a sampling of absentee votes examined:
    2 absentee voters voted in Milwaukee using business addresses. Fraud.
    3 absentee voters voted in Milwaukee even though they lived in CA, MI, and NJ and voted illegally b/c they wanted their vote to count in a WI. Presumably because it was a battleground state. They didn’t prosecute, but this sure looks like fraud to me.
    6 campaign workers who didn’t live in Wisconsin, then or ever since, voted in Milwaukee. Fraud.
    2 absentee votes from non-existance addresses found the people lived in Canada.
    Many many issues were found with the absentee voting process, but too many to list here. ID laws would help with a lot of this.

    From samples examined, 6 political group workers who didn’t live in Wisconsin, then or ever since, voted in Milwaukee. Fraud. How many others would be found in full investigation took place? Voter ID would help with this.

    From samples examined, 10 political campaign workers who never lived in Milwaukee registered and voted in Milwaukee. FRAUD. Voter ID would help with this.

    From samples examined, 6 people working for 527 groups who never lived in Milwaukee registered and voted in Milwaukee. FRAUD. Voter ID would help with this.

    All of the above were not prosecuted because of Wisconsin poor “residency” laws that make prosecution difficult. In the end, they pointed to a lot of opportunity for fraud and a lot of cases of pretty obvious fraud that couldn’t be proved because of all the administration errors. And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that thousands of more votes were counted than people who actually voted.

    There’s a lot more too, but go read the report yourself to see it. And remember, it was only the RECOMMENDATIONS section that was disavowed by MPD leadership, not the factual findings.

    [b]Fraud, ineptitude, and downright dirty scheming all played a big role in the 2004 election in Milwaukee. Just because prosecutions didn’t come of it doesn’t make it magically disappear. Voter ID isn’t perfect, but in many of the above cases it would be a big step in the right direction. [/b]

  72. David Nelson says:

    AG: Thanks for the detailed post. I don’t have the time and resources at the moment to comment on most of this. However, I will say that if conservatives are primarily interested in preventing voter and other electoral fraud, there are a number of areas in which that can be done.

    My comments in general about voting access are:

    Voter ID does disproportionately affect the poor. If ID were to be a good idea, but this is acknowledged, then surely reducing hours and days of service for registration sites only increases the burden on those who are poor, some of whom have trouble with transportation as well.

    Absentee Ballots are a good thing because they promote access, whether for military or other citizens. Verifying whether a person has voted already could prevent duplicate votes, but limiting absentee voting is not an answer.

    Many voting machines have proven to be susceptible to “internal” fraud and error. Having paper trails bolstered by sound systems security addresses charges of corrupt and incompetent electoral administration.

    In many places around the country, poll lines may be so long as to discourage voting by those citizens waiting. After all, most of have us jobs and families to get back to whether we burn to exercise our right to vote. In some polling places, inadequate numbers of, or improperly printed ballots limit the right to vote. In still other examples, some citizens (many of whom have been registered with one party for years) are listed incorrectly in terms of party affiliation, and are disqualified from voting.

    The list of corrupt or incompetent electoral situations which exist in our state, or more broadly, in our country is immense.
    That is one reason why some on the left and other concerned citizens complain about Voter ID. It is one more nail in the coffin of securing adequate voting access in a theoretically open system.

    While I follow what you wrote above about fraud, I sure wish you’d stand up for measures which protect all citizens, rather than targeting what you perceive to be the Democratic base. You may not be one of those Republicans who gloat and rub their hands together when considering the advantages given by Voter ID (i.e., many of our current state pols), but I haven’t seen you expend effort to encourage access for those unreasonably hindered.

    How about advocating for great access AND Voter ID? You up for that?

    A side note to the main issue: How many of these ~ fraudulent actors are Dems? Why assign automatic guilt to homeless or those who give them rides. Homeless folks often dwell in multiple parts of communities because they are seeking food, shelter etc. That means having one address is likely not an accurate description of the situation. Certainly, there are some Samaritans who provide various services for the homeless without planning fraud. Unless there is hard evidence that there is active fraud in that area, maybe concentrate on other aspects.

  73. AG says:

    David Nelson, thank you for the good response, you have a lot of valid questions that I’ve asked myself as well.

    First, I do feel I need to address the homeless comment as I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t trying to discount the homeless vote. Jus tlike anyone else, they deserve their vote to be counted. I really should have done a bigger section on it, the real problem was that many were registered at multiple shelters and could vote in multiple places and without voter ID laws they could again register at more (or anyone could). It creates a loop hole that needs a solution.

    Regarding the rest, what you’re main point seems to be is exactly what I stand. That is, if you’re going to support voter ID you need to support voter integrity as a hole. The biggest part of that is indeed point regarding that is the absentee voting hours. Originally I was against the idea (and posted such on UM to say so) but I eventually changed my mind when I looked at the republicans perspective. Think of it like this, in 2008 we had a HUGE absentee turnout. Places like Milwaukee could take absentee voters 6 or 7 days a week at all hours making it theoretically easy for someone like myself to go whenever I wanted to vote. However, if you live in a small suburb or small town and you needed to absentee vote, your municipality may not have had the resources to make that available. So on the flip side of cutting access in Milwaukee, you’re now giving far more access to the bigger cities.

    Obviously the GOP had an issue with that mostly because those areas fall more to the left. I’m sure if it was in right leaning areas they wouldn’t have touched the issue… but I’m sure the Democrats would then be crying foul.

    That wasn’t what swayed me though. What swayed me was 1. how terrible Milwaukee elections board is in processing absentee votes and no one seems to care except for right leaning voters outside of Milwaukee. Literally hundreds of votes were never counted and the record keeping was so bad that no one could go back later to ensure all the votes were valid to begin with. 2. Wisconsin has laws to make voting accessible to everyone already. Employers are required to allow a person to leave work to make sure they can vote. Providing after hours voting isn’t necessary. For the few people that the extra two hours work (or whatever it may be) would make life unlivable for missing 2 hours wages, we have item 3. Item 3 is that you can vote absentee by mail anytime. It takes 5 minutes of time from your home to request a ballat and only costs one stamp to do so. Returning your completed ballot takes another 5 min. You don’t have to go anywhere to do this.

    I do think you points have merit, but as you have pointed out, while one side pushes one end they say nothing of the other. While some a proponents of easy voting access you never hear them say anything about the rampant errors, fraud, or inept running of the voting process that disenfranchises just as many.

    There is always going to be SOME level of burden to vote. It’s part of ones responsibility to make it happen though. The question is whether there is UNDO burden. If that is the measure, I don’t believe we are setting any undo burden on anyone and I await examples of where we do.

    As a final note, one side benefit and another reason I support voter ID laws is because in the end having a valid ID is a BIG factor for pulling someone out of poverty. If you don’t have a valid ID you are far less likely to be able to do so. I do not think our system is perfect, and has flaws such as college students from out of state having to provide a valid ID, etc. But overall I think it’s a net positive.

  74. AG says:

    Jay Bullock #63, there were indeed thousands of more votes counted than people who voted. In fact, it was in the neighborhood of 5,000 votes. Did you notice that line in the story you linked that said, “…the rest of the allegedly invalid addresses were thrown out for lack of proof…” In other words, because they found it was difficult to prove because the system was so bad, they never prosecuted anyone for this. That doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist, it means things were so messed up they couldn’t act on it.

  75. Vincent Hanna says:

    But is it really fair to say there are two sides to this? One 2004 report versus study after study showing no voter fraud problems in the United States plus evidence that voter ID laws suppress the vote. That does not seem like two equal sides at all.

  76. AG says:

    Vincent, it comes down to the fact that I’ve never seen any investigation of the nature of which the MPD taskforce was set up to do. I’ve seen reports and study’s based off of convictions… but then you would end up with ridiculous numbers like the Brennan Centers findings on the MPD report that .00002% or whatever is how often issues occur. I realize it’s a group with an agenda, and that’s fine, it’s what these groups do. But this investigation was done by a municipality that wasn’t funded by Soros or the Koch’s or whomever. In addition, they looked down to the individual vote level. If the Brennan Center says that no fraud took place except for a few felons, then I can’t trust “reports” of that nature.

    It’s not as if I don’t have material that provides more evidence of fraud… but this is by far the best. For example, there’s a study that found over 10% of illegal immigrants self report as voting. That’s self reported… do you realize how big that is? When self reporting acts that are against the law you tend to see far lower reporting than what actually takes place. So that 10% is likely very flawed on the low side. If 10% holds true in Milwaukee that’s another 2,200 votes that shouldn’t have been cast. (my rough guessing based on 108k latinos of which 20.5% are illegal immigrants, 10% voting) Again, that’s another situation where valid ID’s can help control.

    If there’s a better source for truly neutral studies or investigations, I’d love to go through them. In the mean time, I’ll take the Brennan Center (Soros) and Heritage Foundation (Koch) type sources for what they are… groups with specific agendas.

  77. #voteblue says:

    Wisconsin conservative digest please invest in spellcheck

  78. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    # voteblue buzz off, you add nothing, as most lefties do not.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us