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Fund: Voter Fraud In Milwaukee In 2004

Alas, almost any passage from John Fund’s great investigative book, Stealing Elections, reads like it was ripped from today’s headlines.

Or perhaps tomorrow’s.

Here are some excerpts from chapter nine (pp. 119 – 27):

The Fraud That Made Milwaukee Famous

… In February 2008, the Milwaukee Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit released a stunning report that should silence skeptics who say vote fraud is not an issue in Wisconsin, a critical swing state whose last two presidential elections were decided by fewer than 12,000 votes. The investigators found after an eighteen-month probe that in 2004 there had been an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of an election in the state of Wisconsin.” Among the problems it cited were ineligible voters casting ballots, felons not only voting but working at the polls, transient college students casting improper votes, and homeless voters possibly voting more than once. The report said the problem was compounded by incompetence resulting from abysmal record keeping and inadequately trained poll workers. One investigator, after examining Milwaukee’s election system, was quoted as saying: “I know I voted in the election, but I can’t be certain it counted.” Examples of incompetence included the fact that between 4,600 and 5,300 more ballots were cast than voters who were recorded as having shown up at the polls in Milwaukee. More than 1,300 registration cards filled out at the polls were declared “un-enterable” or invalid by election officials.

The sloppiness was so bad it hampered and often prevented efforts to prosecute wrongdoers who committed fraud. The report cited statements by jurors in federal court trials of two men accused of double voting. One trial produced a “not guilty” verdict and the other a hung jury. In both cases, jurors said after the trials that although there appeared to be evidence that these individuals had voted more than once, mismanagement of the voting records by the Election Commission presented them with questions about the record system and they could not find guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In conclusion, the investigative report found that “The Milwaukee Election Commission, through their ineptitude, raised enough reasonable doubt to prevent any further criminal prosecution” of voting violators.

The Milwaukee Police Department’s report minced no words about what should be done to prevent future scandals: the state should end its policy of allowing people to show up at the polls on Election Day, register to vote and then immediately cast a ballot. “If a verification period would be provided to the Election Commission before any Election, the majority of the problems detailed in this report would not have existed,” the report found. It also called for all voters to show a government-issued ID at the polls to prove their eligibility.

The report directly implicated the John Kerry campaign and allied get-out-the-vote organizations in widespread illegal voting committed by their campaign workers, many of whom came from out-of-state. The most common method they used was to abuse the state’s same-day voter registration law, which allowed anyone to show up at the polls, register and then cast a ballot. Local election officials who asked for proof of residence from these Kerry campaign staff members were often stymied when “other staff members who were registered voters vouched for them by corroborating their residency. More alarmingly, other staff members who were deputy registrars for this election simply registered these individuals as Milwaukee residents, bypassing Election officials altogether. The actions of the listed campaign and 527 staff members appear to be violations of State of Wisconsin law….”

The report went on at length to detail how these paid, professional workers violated the law. Case #4 was an attorney who had lived in Washington, D.C., since 1999 but came to Wisconsin to help with the campaign and voted using an address in Milwaukee. Case #6 involved another attorney who was living in England before the 2004 election. After coming to work on the Kerry campaign in Milwaukee, the person registered and voted in the 2004 election using a Milwaukee address. The owner of that address was interviewed by investigators and “stated that #6’s sole purpose in coming to the state of Wisconsin was to work on the presidential campaign” and that the person returned to England after the election.

Nor did investigators believe that ignorance of the law led to the casting of illegal votes. “It is difficult for the investigators to believe that paid professional campaign staff members, who were tasked with assisting in the registration of new voters and the facilitation of those voters … would not have had a working knowledge of the voter eligibility requirements,” the report stated. “The belief of the investigators is that each of these persons had to commit multiple criminal acts in an effort to reach their ultimate goal of voting, showing that the act was a conscious, intentional effort to commit a crime…. Registering a person to vote that was known to be ineligible, registering to vote when ineligible and the actual process of then voting are all crimes under ‘Wisconsin State Statutes.”

Nor did the police report find the problem to be isolated. The two 527 groups it identified “placed thousands of staffers and volunteers in Wisconsin” and those involved in illegal voting “represent multiple levels of both the organizations, from upper management to the street level canvassers.” Thus, the report found there was “a strong possibility that the discovery of these random staffers voting illegally is the proverbial `tip of the iceberg’ as it relates to an illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome” of the election.

The problem with Wisconsin’s 2004 election was not just criminal activity but also the gross mismanagement by election officials that made it impossible to have any confidence in the “official” result. Investigators found that “two persons who had entered guilty pleas to misdemeanor charges of Election Fraud within one year of the November General Election also were employed as Election Inspectors” when voting took place on November 2, 2004. A total of eighteen convicted felons were sworn in as deputy registrars in 2004. Of the fifteen felons who listed a sponsoring organization, eight named ACORN as their sponsor. “In Wisconsin we have been told, ad nauseam, that `every vote counts,” the report noted. “What is most troubling is that each ineligible ballot accepted in effect cancels a legal vote cast by a Wisconsin state resident.”

Liberal groups quickly disputed the Milwaukee Police Department’s findings. DEMOS, a New York—based think tank, labeled the report “grossly flawed” and said that “years of investigation by federal, state and local authorities have turned up little evidence of voter fraud in Milwaukee elections.” It called the criticism of same-day registration procedures “gratuitous attacks” and said any attempt to end the law would “strip Wisconsinites of their voting rights.”

But the report disputed the contention by DEMOS that a lack of prosecutions for vote fraud meant that the problem didn’t exist. The investigators believed that at least sixteen workers from all levels of the Kerry campaign and the two get out-the vote groups “committed felony crimes.” But no prosecutors chose to pursue them, the report noted. “Although the investigators do not agree with this decision, it is certainly understandable given the lack of confidence that all involved have with the accuracy and reliability of Election Commission records.” In other words, once again a local election system is shown to be so flawed it’s hard to prove where the fraud begins and the incompetence ends.

The incompetence took many forms. For example, the police report found that Milwaukee had no system to prevent felons, who are blocked from casting a ballot under Wisconsin law, from voting, due to the same-day registration system: It determined that at least 220 ineligible felons voted in 2004. Because it listed someone as ineligible only if it found an exact match between a voter and an ineligible felon, the report noted “there is a strong probability that the number of felons illegally voting in November 2004 is higher.”

Milwaukee police also remarked that the city has a sad history of abusing homeless voters, with the most famous incident being the “Smokes for Votes” scandal in which a Park Avenue heiress flew in from New York in 2000 to offer cigarettes to the homeless if they voted for Al Gore. “The Milwaukee homeless vote has the potential to affect the outcome of a local election,” the report stated. “This vote portability and the abject poverty that defines homelessness make these unfortunate individuals vulnerable to become the tools of voter fraud.” …

As John Fund argues, and his subtitle says — “voter fraud threatens our democracy.”

Indeed, if it is allowed to win out it will kill what is left of our republican form of government.

Something too many have died to preserve.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Fund: Voter Fraud In Milwaukee In 2004”

  1. BillK says:

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Milwaukee Puts a Vote-Fraud Cop Out of Business

    Local Democrats don’t take the issue seriously.

    By John Fund

    Last week Mike Sandvick, head of the Milwaukee Police Department’s five-man Special Investigative Unit, was told by superiors not to send anyone to polling places on Election Day. He was also told his unit — which wrote the book on how fraud could subvert the vote in his hometown — would be disbanded.

    “We know what to look for,” he told me, “and that scares some people.” In disgust, Mr. Sandvick plans to retire. (A police spokeswoman claims the unit isn’t being disbanded and that any changes to the unit “aren’t significant.”)

    In February, Mr. Sandvick’s unit released a 67-page report on what it called an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of (the 2004) election in the state of Wisconsin” — a swing state whose last two presidential races were decided by less than 12,000 votes.

    The report found that between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted more than once.

    Much of the problem resulted from Wisconsin’s same-day voter law, which allows anyone to show up at the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. If someone lacks any ID, he can vote so long as someone who lives in the same city vouches for him. The report found that in 2004 a total of 1,305 “same day” voters gave information that was declared “un-enterable” or invalid by election officials.

    According to the report, this loophole was abused by many out-of-state workers for the John Kerry campaign. They had “other staff members who were registered voters vouch for them by corroborating their residency.”

    The investigative unit believed at least 16 workers from the Kerry campaign, and two allied get-out-the-vote groups, “committed felony crimes.” But local prosecutors didn’t pursue them in part because of a “lack of confidence” in the abysmal record-keeping of the city’s Election Commission.

    Pat Curley, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s chief of staff, told me he was very upset by the surprise release of the report. “I don’t believe all of the facts are necessarily accurate,” he said. Which ones? He only cited the report’s interpretation of state policy on homeless voters. He denies the mayor’s office had any role in disbanding the unit.

    Mr. Sandvick says the problems his unit found in 2004 are “only the tip of the iceberg” of what could happen today. His unit has found out-of-state groups registering their temporary workers, a college dorm with 60 voters who aren’t students, and what his unit believes are seven illegal absentee ballots.

    The time to stop voter fraud is prior to when the questionable ballot is mixed in with all the valid votes,” he says. Former police captain Glenn Frankovis agrees: “This issue could be solved if [the police chief] would assign police officers to the polling locations as was customary about 20 years ago.” But election monitors are now viewed as “intimidating” in minority precincts and have been withdrawn.

    Mr. Sandvick’s report concluded “the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of the fraud” it found would be elimination of same-day voter registration (which is also in use in seven other states). It also suggested that voters present a photo ID at the polls, a requirement the U.S. Supreme Court declared constitutional this spring.

    But weeks after the vote fraud report was released, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold introduced federal legislation to mandate same-day registration in every state. He claimed the system had worked well in Wisconsin and if “we can bring more people into the process, [it] only strengthens our democracy.” Democrats tell me his bill is a top priority of the new Congress.

    “They say voter fraud isn’t a problem,” notes Mr. Sandvick, “but after this election it may be all too clear it is.” Now that Mr. Sandvick is resigning from the force after a long, honorable career, let’s hope someone else is allowed to follow up on the spadework he’s done.


    No big surprise, other than how blatant Democrat support of voter fraud is.

  2. play2mj says:

    Yesterday, the Milwaukee Police Department announced that the department’s special unit (which investigates alleged vote fraud) will NOT be doing what they were originally tasked to do. Even though an 18 mo investigation revealed severe problems with voter fraud, Police Chief Ed Flynn said investigations unit will only become involved AFTER they receive several voter complaints. At that point, they will simply send out a squad car to “check things out.” The implication is that it is up to the voters to sniff out the fraud and AFTER THE FACT, the department will investigate. There is NO INTEGRITY in the voting system in WI. You do not have to show any form of ID and you can register on the same day by simply showing a piece of mail that includes name and address. Attempts to sync up voting rolls with DMV records was defeated by a left leaning WI supreme court. Voter fraud is RAMPANT in WI, especially in Milwaukee County. In fact, last week one of our democratic state senators was arrested for electionering, but you had to track down the story with a microcope in the local media…virtually NO ONE REPORTED IT! Even though nearly 85% of residents in the state think showing voter ID is a good idea, the DEMOCRATICALLY controlled state government has struck it down three different times. God help us all. I am living in an Orwellian state!

  3. 1sttofight says:

    Orwell just missed the date of the takeover by 24 years.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    I was hoping I’d be long gone before the collapse of the Rebublic came. The sad part is that these fools don’t REALLY know what they are doing. Most are sheep following sheep so they can feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Alas….we have met the enemy and he is us!!

  5. Gladius et Scutum says:

    From WISN 1130 AM Milwaukee: Mark Beling Show: Detective Sandvick, knowing he was being transfered to internal affairs, requested Tuesday, November 4th, off. Acting as a private citizen, he arrested seven people at a Milwaukee polling station. Three of them chose to “withdraw” their ballot. Four were referred to the DA for prosecution. They were not Wisconsin residents.

    The reason this is important is that the police chief, Flynn, has been running from Fund (of the WSJ) and local talk radio regarding the disbanding of the election fraud unit. The question being asked is: Did Mayor Barret tell you to stop the unit?

    Finally – the Mayor’s office has begun issuing terse “no comment” statements when they are asked. This indicates that Barret is not certain that Flynn will not “roll over” (rat him out). Finally the potential for some real fallout. But probably too late

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