Sunday, February 5, 2012

Voter Caging - Recall Style

Did you get your postcard? No? What postcard?

Didn't you hear that Wan Vanggaard and his Republican colleagues on the recall hot seat are sending out postcards asking folks if they signed a recall petition against him.

Contentious? Thoughtful? Not really. In fact, Van doesn't even really want to hear from you at all.

Wanggaard has sent out 5000 postcards to people who signed recall petitions against him. That's a very specific number considering the committee to recall him turned in 24,000 signatures. How'd he get that number?

Well it's just a guess (and lord knows they'll never admit to it) but the Siren imagines those 5000 addresses are located within a certain boundary of Racine County - that isn't in Caledonia. We would even hazard a guess those postcards went to folks not just in the city of Racine, but in high density populated areas of the inner-city.

Why? To find addresses that bounce back to them from the post office as undeliverable and then challenge those signatures in court.

If this sounds familiar to you, it is because this is a new twist on voter caging. Voter caging is when a campaign  or organization sends out a piece of mail to registered voters in a "certain" area. If the mail comes back to the campaign - either the addressee has moved and not filed a change of address, the address is wrong or the post office makes a mistake - the campaign challenges the voter registration of that person and has them kicked off the voter rolls. Another tactic is they wait at the polls and challenge that voter in person forcing them to cast a provisional ballot - which won't count unless the voter provides proof within 24 hours at the clerk's office.

Voter caging by Republicans, Americans for Prosperity and various tea-bag groups has a colorful history in Wisconsin - a history that creeps all around Racine County. It's no surprise they're at it again.

In this case, recalled Senators like Wanny are sending out postcards to see what they get back - and they will use those undelivered postcards to say the signatures of those people are insufficient and should not be counted. How will those people know their signatures are being challenged? They probably won't.

Here is the bigger problem. People are getting postcards with the wrong name listed at their address -lot's of people. Further, signers who have checked Van's handy alphabetical database are finding they are missing from the list when their friends and family signed on the same petition - they can see their signature on the petition but not on the list. They are finding wrong addresses attributed to them on the database even though the petition clearly states the right address. They have found data entry misspellings and a host of mistakes on the list.

It would just be a human error issue if a lot of these recall signers didn't realize Wan was going to use this information to try and toss legitimate signature off recall petitions.

While local news media chases down a single report of alleged fraud by some sad-sack schlub of a guy (if substantiated should be charged) and breathlessly report that someone knows someone else who said a signer might be a felon...they are missing the point.

Which was the plan all along - discredit the recall while they distract from what they are really up to.

The Siren suggests if you find that Wanggaard's alphabetical list has listed you incorrectly or not at all you should report it. If you or someone you know receives a postcard with incorrect information - you should report it - not just to Wanggaard's office, but to Stephanie Jones at the Journal Times as well. Since she doesn't have a clue - why not illuminate her?

Victory Mis-Information Center: 260-8099
Stephanie Jones: 631-1717