Eliminating Election Day registration wouldn't have blocked state's known cases of voter fraud

2012-11-30T07:45:00Z 2012-12-06T10:08:57Z Eliminating Election Day registration wouldn't have blocked state's known cases of voter fraudJESSICA VANEGEREN | The Capital Times | jvanegeren@madison.com madison.com

Eliminating Election Day voter registration in Wisconsin is a solution in search of a problem.

That's the view of voting rights and progressive advocacy groups across the state in the wake of a statement made Nov. 19 by Gov. Scott Walker that he might push for the elimination of Election Day, or same-day, registration.

Doing away with Election Day registration, however, would have done nothing to prevent the few voter fraud cases that have been prosecuted in the state.

According to the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office, 20 individuals have been charged and convicted of crimes related to fraudulent voting dating back to the 2008 presidential election. through an Election Fraud Task Force, a joint effort by state Department of Justice, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement.

Of the 20 found guilty, 12 were felons who voted illegally while still on probation. Two people were found guilty of voting twice, in different locations; one man was found guilty of falsifying information to obtain an absentee ballot for his deceased wife (it was her dying wish to vote for Obama, he claimed); and five were found guilty of providing false information to procure voter registration forms.

But none of these cases would have been prevented if same-day registration was ended because none of the perpetrators registered on Election Day. All filled out their forms in the months prior to voting day.

“There is no known fraud that would support doing away with same-day registration,” says Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “We think laws should be written to address a real problem and provide a real solution.”

Officials with One Wisconsin Now, United Wisconsin and We Are Wisconsin, all made similar assertions at a Capitol press conference Thursday.

The groups collected 15,000 online signatures in a week’s time from Wisconsin residents opposed to the discontinuation of Election Day registration.

The petitions were delivered to the Governor’s Office Thursday.

"The politicians trying to eliminate same-day voter registration are seeking to change the rules to gain partisan political advantage," says Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now’s executive director. "That is the true election fraud occurring in Wisconsin today."

Walker’s statement, made during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in California earlier this month, immediately caught the attention of voting rights advocates back home.

Since then Walker has backtracked a bit.

His spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said Friday in an email that while Walker favors the elimination of Election Day registration, he has no plans to push for it.

Shortly after the Nov. 6 election, two top Republican lawmakers claimed President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin defeated their Republican opponents in Wisconsin because of voter fraud.

Ross says his office has contacted Sens. Glenn Grothman and Alberta Darling asking for proof that would back up the statements each made following the Nov. 6 election.

Ross says nothing has been provided thus far.

Grothman, Darling and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, did not return calls asking them if it would be a priority in the upcoming session to introduce a bill to repeal Election Day registration and what types of fraudulent voter activity such a bill would seek to prevent.

Despite the governor’s statement, the issue doesn’t appear to be going away.

Reid Magney, a spokesman with the state’s Government Accountability Board that oversees state election laws, says staff will present board members at their Dec. 18 meeting with the fiscal and administrative impact of eliminating same-day registration.

“We took the initiative because we knew it is going to be an issue,” Magney says. “We are also responding to a number of requests from legislative agencies and lawmakers.”

Wisconsin clerks already have voiced opposition to the idea.

“It will make it more burdensome,” Sun Prairie City Clerk Diane Hermann-Brown, a former Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association president, told the Cap Times last week, adding, “It would be a logistical nightmare.”

In some states that do not offer Election Day registration, voters can register when they apply for or renew their driver’s license. But as Fiona Cahill, a coalition member with We Are Wisconsin, pointed out Thursday, college students like herself often move annually.

Election Day registration allows them to update their information without having to go the Department of Motor Vehicles each time they move.

Kaminski says eliminating Election Day registration also would likely result in more provisional ballots being cast.

These ballots are filled out by voters at their polling location but set aside in an envelope. The voter has until the Friday following the election to prove his or her identity. At that time, the ballot is counted.

Kaminski says only 20 percent of provisional ballots ever get counted. In contrast, with same-day registration, voters can change their name or address and still cast their ballot and have it immediately counted, she says.

“The provisional ballot is not a good system,” she says. “Same-day registration is something we have had for 36 years. It’s good that we can make changes on Election Day and still be able to vote and have it counted. It is a safeguard.”

Copyright 2014 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(43) Comments

  1. Warren G Harding
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    Warren G Harding - December 02, 2012 9:03 pm
    Tammy Baldwin, Obama, Heidi Heitkamp and any other Democrat Party cheat that was "elected" won by huge numbers of people being allowed to vote when it's clear our founding fathers, all men of GOD, never intended these types to vote, much less be given free money for each additional litter they produce. Anything Governor Walker and the Republican Party can do to prevent these Democrat union thugs, gays, welfare queens, school teachers, public employees, college elitists, scientists, vegans, bicycle riders, single women, yoga cultists, dope fiends and communists from voting has HIS approval.
  2. EnuMPowers
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    EnuMPowers - December 02, 2012 7:53 am
    Because we are, at least while the shreds of the constitution still exist, a federal republic. You can google it.

    We used to be the envy of the world, and people still are willing to risk their lives to get here for the sliver of freedom left after a century of progressive socialism.

  3. EnuMPowers
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    EnuMPowers - December 02, 2012 7:45 am
    You certainly demonstrate that parody is difficult and should be left to professionals. You should also take some time to study, because you would then know that no tea party member would say that about W.

    Thankfully, we do not need to parody progressive idiots. They accomplish that on their own.
  4. 2Logical
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    2Logical - December 01, 2012 3:40 pm
    Here's an idea... A person should only be able to vote if they pay taxes.
  5. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - December 01, 2012 7:23 am
    Wife calls hubby on cell phone. "Honey, are you headed home on the freeway? Get off right now! The radio says there's an idiot driving down the wrong lane."
    "AN idiot? Looks to me like they're ALL crazy!"
  6. Blatant
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    Blatant - December 01, 2012 7:18 am
    The GOP should stone their own party first.


    Of course you won't hear one Republican make any demands for justice when they commit the acts that they distain so fervently, loudly and stupidly proudly.
  7. Blatant
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    Blatant - December 01, 2012 6:55 am
    The GOP, with the likes of Spourl, his previous companies which were also cited for committing fraud and Rep. Robin Voss's wife is the only known fraud.

    The party had openly admitted - They can't win if they don't suppress the vote. I would also profess, if it wasn't for the partisan gerrymandering that made some districts look like Swiss cheese, the Democrats would have maintained their majority.
  8. raceturd48
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    raceturd48 - December 01, 2012 5:50 am
    Did you fall down and bump your head? If it's a pre-existing condition you are in luck with ACA. Obama cares about you.

    Incidentally, I'm sure that Sproul lives in a 'better neighborhood'.

    'The Palm Beach Post report last night that a Florida Republican Party contractor turned in at least 106 “questionable” registration firms, with “similar signatures” and wrong addresses, doesn’t seem like a national news story. But it has unwoven a somewhat concealed effort by Republicans in several states to deploy a firm with an ugly history of allegedly destroying Democratic voter registration forms and other acts of fraud.'

    'The contractor in Florida is called Strategic Allied Consulting, a business entity created a few months ago and registered online by a former Arizona Republican Party director named Nathan Sproul.'
  9. what justice
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    what justice - November 30, 2012 10:06 pm
    I am curious. Have you ever fed this baseless theory through this filter: who would deliberately commit a felony to add ONE extra vote? If some fictitious person were to--on purpose--vote repeatedly at different polling places, they would commit an additional felony EVERY time they cast a vote...

    How many votes (and how many felonies) would it take to have ANY chance of affecting an election--A HELUVA LOT MORE THAN ANY ONE PERSON COULD EVER CAST!

    And if you think it might really involve some 'vast conspiracy'--do you really (really!) think a huge number--it would take thousands--could all coordinate and keep their secrets? Always and forever--so that NO ONE has EVER either infiltrated a 'conspiracy' or spilled the beans on their own? Come on--it's obviously impossible...
  10. Tea Parody
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    Tea Parody - November 30, 2012 9:27 pm
    That is a total untruth! The Tea Parody wasn't even formed in 2003 when President Bush decided it was best for everyone that he finish the job his father didn't - wiping out Suddam Hussein once and for all. That was the decision of all America because we elected him to finish his father's job. By 2008 Saddam was dead and General Motors was alive. Bush was a remarkable President and will be an even better grandfather.

    Real patriots don't let their friends vote Democrat!
  11. Norby
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    Norby - November 30, 2012 9:03 pm
    So is that the solution to your "problem"?
  12. Tea Parody
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    Tea Parody - November 30, 2012 8:15 pm
    Voter fraud is disgusting. That's why Wisconsin needs to get rid of this same day registration. Even if voter fraud isn't tied to it yet, it will be, because fraud is a sneeky thing by nature. Voter fraud people in disreputable neighborhoods will be pumping up fake votes for Democrat politicians faster than you say "I told you so". Let's get behind Governor Walker and stop this fraud before it starts!

    Of course in better neighborhoods voter fraud has not been a problem, but ending same day registration is just a minor inconvenience for me and my neighbors, something we must sacrifice in order to make sure that those in disreputable neighborhoods, less American looking neighborhoods if you understand my view of this, will be held accountable. Those people can register with ease at the motor vehicle department like the rest of us.
  13. Dode
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    Dode - November 30, 2012 7:10 pm
    I never realized Jessica was as crazy as Davey, Johnny, Paulie, and Stevie. Without going door to door to verify that every same day registrant actually lived where they claimed, you're not even going to know if their application was fraudulent. But I guess that is liberal logic for you.
  14. Norby
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    Norby - November 30, 2012 5:41 pm
    I wish you long life and happiness!
  15. Blatant
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    Blatant - November 30, 2012 4:43 pm
    2 - Mobile phones were available as early as 1956. Handheld phone as early as 1973. Lifeline was established by the Federal Government starting with landlines and then to cell phones when they became generally available. Since the poor often move more frequently, it was considered to be more cost effective in those situations so the program was opened to them. The program is paid for by surcharges on everyone's phone bills.
  16. 2Logical
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    2Logical - November 30, 2012 4:05 pm
    There were cell phones back in '84?
  17. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - November 30, 2012 3:41 pm
    Indeed, parts of it ARE the laffingstock of the world. #1 thigh-slapper is the part about how, in some states, elections are under the overall control and direction of a partisan elected official, usually the secretary of state. Think Katharine Harris (Florida 2000) or Ken Blackwell (Ohio 2004).

    Other causes of merriment include our perverse rush to adopt easily hackable and completely non-verifiable electronic voting machines. As the phrase goes, Big Brother doesn't even have to watch you.

    Finally, there's the practice, amazing to non-Americans, of having each state set its own election laws, even for federal elections, with no oversight from the national level.
  18. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - November 30, 2012 3:35 pm
    There are 2 frequent commenters on this board whose screen names begin with "Lynn". The one who tacks on an "XL" is mocking the other one, who actually appears to be serious.
  19. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - November 30, 2012 3:32 pm
    Your deliverance is at hand — your own!
  20. Woman46
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    Woman46 - November 30, 2012 3:21 pm
    @2Logical Will you PLEASE stop with the Tea Party & Fox News talking points! Enough is enough, you're making yourself look idiotic. President Obama is NOT giving out free cell phones. There is a federal program called Lifeline Program that gives discounts to lower income people and families for them to have a cell phone This program has been in effect since 1984. Who was President in 1984? That's right it was Ronald Reagan. Give it a rest and educate yourself for God's sake.

  21. teejk
    Report Abuse
    teejk - November 30, 2012 2:16 pm
    pretzel logic at its best...you can't detect voter fraud in the absense of voter ID, therefore since it can't be proven, there is no need to implement voter ID. Our election system has to be the laughing stock of the world.
  22. TheJudoon
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    TheJudoon - November 30, 2012 1:54 pm
    Of course. There's never been a non-existent problem that Teapublicans don't have a plan to attack. Such as making up lies to illegal invade a country that never attacked us, occupying its land and murdering its citizens, stealing their resources, and then claiming they did it in the name of liberty and freedom. God Bless those "patriots!"
  23. windy33
    Report Abuse
    windy33 - November 30, 2012 12:56 pm
    time to ask the news media to ask robin voss about the voter fraud his wife commited. WHY6 HASN'T SHE BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED
  24. windy33
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    windy33 - November 30, 2012 12:55 pm
    Lynn is there a doctor close by to get your ignorant head out of your as#
  25. Shake
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    Shake - November 30, 2012 12:33 pm
    One more time just because it can not be said enough:

    It's not about fraud

    It's about restricting the voter base in order that the Republicks and their masters stay in power.

  26. Robert James
    Report Abuse
    Robert James - November 30, 2012 12:29 pm
    Do you really? I mean, really? Because if you do, get yourself some help from a professional to deal with what must be crippling depression. I'm not kidding. During the Bush years, plenty of the folks who are still doing victory dances in the forums were a bunch of seriously depressed people who probably felt the same as you do now.

    And if you're not serious... If you're NOT thinking that you just need to eat a bullet, then get off your melodramatic personal stage and move on. If you're a Republican, you've got your work cut out for you to bring your party into the modern day, because if you don't, the next election's drubbing is going to make this one look like a lawn party.
  27. Blatant
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    Blatant - November 30, 2012 12:22 pm
    Kasha - Yes they do and yes they can:

  28. kashka-kat
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    kashka-kat - November 30, 2012 11:42 am
    Hmmm this article would suggest that the system is working as is - seems to be capable of verifying legitimacy of votes and prosecuting violators.
  29. PapaLorax
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    PapaLorax - November 30, 2012 11:35 am
    The whole concept of registering to vote seems completely out dated. There must be some better method to do this tied to just registering you as an adult with the government.
  30. Delilah_Jones
    Report Abuse
    Delilah_Jones - November 30, 2012 11:17 am
    >> He added while he would sign such a bill, it is not a priority.

    Relax, okay, it's not the first thing he'd do. It's only the 3rd or 4th....I feel so much better.

  31. G Gordon
    Report Abuse
    G Gordon - November 30, 2012 10:31 am
    A great isue to distract us while Walker and his cohorts in the legislature load up the real bombs they plan to drop on the unsuspecting citizens when the new session starts.

    Say hello to publicly-financed religious schools, private-sector union busting, polluted air and water, and toll booths on the state's roads. That's what we're really facing.
  32. MadRes18
    Report Abuse
    MadRes18 - November 30, 2012 10:20 am
    And yet, even though "there is no way to find fraud," you claim there is fraud. And unicorns.
  33. Dazshand
    Report Abuse
    Dazshand - November 30, 2012 10:13 am
    Where's a fairy godmother when you need one?
  34. Dazshand
    Report Abuse
    Dazshand - November 30, 2012 10:10 am
    Try using some substance to make points instead of rhetoric. We get it, you don't like Obama.
  35. paulwesterberg
    Report Abuse
    paulwesterberg - November 30, 2012 9:49 am
    You must be stopped from voting. Then freedom will be protected.
  36. dakref
    Report Abuse
    dakref - November 30, 2012 9:30 am
    You heard is proof? I heard there were tens of thousands of buses from Iowa bringing in right wingnuts like you to vote for romnuts.
  37. Blatant
    Report Abuse
    Blatant - November 30, 2012 9:27 am
    Lynne - "Proof" - "You heard", "Thousands of buses"???? Why are you always so absurd?!
  38. MadCityYokal
    Report Abuse
    MadCityYokal - November 30, 2012 9:26 am
    Hey Lynn4300XL, I hope your tongue is deep into your cheek. If not, I then I want a little of what you are smoking for it must be some good stuff!
  39. Devastation608
    Report Abuse
    Devastation608 - November 30, 2012 8:54 am
    I registered on Election Day. And I voted 100% democratic.
  40. Lynn4300XL
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    Lynn4300XL - November 30, 2012 6:43 am
    The proof is I heard there were thousands of buses coming up from Illinois with liberals. We know from the polls that there are more Romney voters in our state.
  41. 2Logical
    Report Abuse
    2Logical - November 30, 2012 6:36 am
    "There is no known fraud that would support doing away with same-day registration"....

    That's because the system is so archaic that there is no way to find fraud unless you parade up and down State St on your bicycle yelling at the top of your lungs "I cheated! I voted over and over and over again!"

    And even if you do parade up and down State St the only result will be that you'll get an Obama Phone.
  42. 1st Responder
    Report Abuse
    1st Responder - November 30, 2012 6:21 am
    No doubt many of us wish you were dead now that he has been reelected....
  43. RecessionSux
    Report Abuse
    RecessionSux - November 30, 2012 6:09 am
    Someone had a dying wish to vote for Obama? I wish I were dead now that he has been reelected.
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