Recall Petitions Found to Be Signed by Felons

She couldn’t help but notice three people listed on a document she was looking at were individuals she knew personally – and whom she knew for a fact are convicted felons.

With statewide recall petitions just posted Tuesday night, already new and confirmed reports of improprieties are coming in.

That’s right – validated instances of invalid signatures throughout the recall process. It didn't take long. I didn't figure it would.

Usually, I screen blocked calls. Not today. I had a gut feeling I should pick up. A Racine resident in Sen. Van Wanggaard's district, a volunteer petition verifier, was reviewing the searchable database of those who signed the senator's recall petition.

She couldn’t help but notice that three people listed on a document she was looking at were individuals she knew personally – and whom she knew for a fact are convicted felons.

She gave me the three names to confirm her statement for myself. And I did just that. Obviously, anyone who is forbidden to vote because of their criminal record should certainly be prohibited to sign a recall petition.

For now, I have asked my dedicated grassroots comrades to begin cross-checking Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) with every name on all petitions as they are made public.

And in just the past couple of hours, I've heard about a number of individual sheets containing the names of convicted felons, in one case as many as nine.

I'm asking petition verifiers to report these findings either to myself, my colleague Paris Procopis, or the Government Accountability Board. The Republican Party of Wisconsin will also be sent any names of such individuals of whom we become aware.

In residence but ineligible

But this poses a whole new dilemma. We in the anti-recall camp have talked a lot about out-of-state signers, made-up names like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, who need to be found out and weeded out.

But here are people who can give their true names and addresses as genuine Wisconsin and senate district residents – but who, because of their criminal pasts, must be ferreted out through checks of court records.

It gets incredibly complicated because by law:

State statute 304.078(3), reading: "If a person is disqualified from voting under s. 6.03 (1) (b), his or her right to vote is restored when he or she completes the term of imprisonment or probation for the crime that led to the disqualification."

The bold italics are mine. With multitudes of felons being released early under probation – or never imprisoned at all – the GAB is not willing, or says it is not able, to do the work of verifying that these people are in fact eligible to vote.

Fortunately, we have a small army of people who are willing to do that.

My initial thoughts were that in Racine alone, there must be an epic number of convicted felons. I wonder if, in the end, the recall forces will have enough valid signatures to even trigger a recall.

And I'm not just talking about Sen. Wanggaard. I'm pretty sure nearly everyone who signed a petition against the senator also signed one against Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Our host of volunteers hasn't begun cross-checking over all three sets of documents, but I'm in no doubt of what we'll find.

Stay tuned. We will provide confirmed reports of those we find ineligible for any reason – not least because they are criminals.


To contact me to help, or with information, please e-mail me at noellelorraine@hotmail.com or Paris Procopis at pprocopis@gmail.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nancy Hall February 14, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I'm surprised that anyone would have trouble understanding how and why governments keep track of who is incarcerated, who is serving probation, and who is completing parole. These people have to be supervised by governmental agencies from the time they're arrested until the time they're finished with parole. Whether they're in a local jail or state prison, living at home with monitoring, or on parole; somebody is keeping track of where they are and what they're up to. How would these agencies know who they're supposed to be supervising unless they kept lists? How could an agency operate a jail or prison without knowing who was supposed to be there? Maintaining and sharing databases is a fairly simple matter in the age of electronic record keeping. I'm sure the GAB is one of several agencies that receive frequent updates so that they can keep their records current. How, for example, do you think agencies that oversee benefit programs like SSI know when to terminate the benefits of someone who has been incarcerated? The GAB probably updates their records when there's a need, as there would be when there's an election or a recall. I can't imagine that it would cost much to collect the information. It would just be a matter of assembling electronic data transmissions from the relevant agencies. Printing the lists for each polling place would be an incidental expense when compared with other costs like printing ballots and compiling poll books.
Craig February 14, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Randy: If I am wrong, show me proof. If you think there is a list that is up to date, provide a link to it. Probation and parole agents can't even get real time information, how would the GAB?
Nancy Hall February 14, 2012 at 01:36 AM
@Craig...the lists aren't for you and they aren't for the junior detectives who are knocking themselves out checking names against CCAP. They're for polling places. If you read the website I linked, it clearly states that the GAB is not yet making electronic lists. Even when they do, it's possible that they'll be accessible only to those who oversee elections. I absolutely guarantee that on election day, there will be paper lists of ineligible voters at each and every polling place. Try to reason this out...how could the police and correctional agencies operate if they didn't keep records of who they arrested and who was in their custody? Think about it. Schools have lists of students. Hospitals have lists of patients. Hotels have lists of guests. Businesses have lists of employees. Correctional facilities have lists of inmates.
Nancy Hall February 15, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Are you suggesting that because this is an editorial, it doesn't have to be accurate? That's an astonishing argument, but it explains a lot.
Nancy Hall February 15, 2012 at 03:05 AM
There is no link to lists of ineligible voters. Not all information in the world is available online. There will be lists at the polling places on the 21st. They're checked when prospective voters register.


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