Back during the 2012 election cycle, there were so many cases of voter fraud and voter registration fraud by Republicans --- even very very high profile ones --- that The BRAD BLOG found ourselves dubbing it the "Year of GOP Election Fraud".
Well, it looks like there were even more GOP vote fraudsters at work that year, including this amazing case just revealed by prosecutors from the contentious 2012 Wisconsin recall elections of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and a number of state Senators, as well as the incredibly close state Supreme Court race that became a proxy battle election between Walker supporters and opponents...
"During 2011 and 2012, the defendant, Robert Monroe, became especially focused upon political issues and causes, including especially the recall elections," the complaint asserts in its introduction.
According to those records, Monroe was considered by investigators to be the most prolific multiple voter in memory. He was a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker and state Sen. Alberta Darling, both Republicans, and allegedly cast five ballots in the June 2012 election in which Walker survived a recall challenge.
Monroe claimed to have a form of temporary amnesia and did not recall the election day events when confronted by investigators.
Monroe voted in his own name, using his Shorewood address, as well as that of a home owned by his parents in Milwaukee. He also voted in the 2012 presidential election from Shorewood and then drove to Lebanon, Ind., where he voted again. He also owns a home there.
Each of the 13 counts carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in forefeitures and three-and-a-half years in prison, for a total of $130,000 and 45-and-half years. If convicted of a felony, he would lose his right to vote.
Okay...quite a bit to unpack there...
For a start, much of this alleged illegal voting by Republican Robert Monroe was done via absentee ballot, which is, far and away, how most fraud carried out by voters actually occurs. It doesn't happen by people showing up at the polling place claiming to be someone they are not, even though that's the reason that Republicans claim that polling place Photo ID restrictions are necessary.
In fact, as we have detailed for over a decade here, the type of voter fraud that could even possibly be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions is ridiculously small to the point of being virtually non-existent. On the other hand, there are more than 20 million legal, registered voters in the U.S. who do not own the very specific type of state-issued Photo ID that Republicans require for voting at the polls under such laws. Many of those voters would be disenfranchised. Of that population, the vast majority tend --- not coincidentally --- to be minorities, the poor, the elderly and students, all groups who tend to vote Democratic.
When U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman found Wisconsin's GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID law to be unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act earlier this year, he found that some 300,000 registered voters in the state lacked the type of ID that would be necessary to vote under the Republican law. "To put this number in context," Adelman wrote in his ruling, "in 2010 the race for governor in Wisconsin was decided by 124,638 votes, and the race for United States Senator was decided by 105,041 votes. Thus, the number of registered voters who lack a qualifying ID is large enough to change the outcome of Wisconsin elections."
Still, almost none of the Photo ID restrictions which Republicans have been pretending are needed --- while claiming, without evidence, that there is a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic --- do anything about the far more prevalent problem of absentee voter fraud, as in the Monroe case in Wisconsin.
Then there's a bit more irony here. In 2008, the state of Indiana was the first in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. The challenge against that state's law went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which decided, in Crawford v. Marion County, that the law could go forward for the time being, at least until such time as the challengers returned to court with specific voters who were disenfranchised by the law. (The federal appellate court judge in that case has since recanted his decision to uphold that restrictive law.)
Despite the law in place in the Hoosier State at the time, it's own Republican Sec. of State Charlie White was personally charged and found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud in 2012 related to voting in a place where he did not live and was not entitled to vote. The Republican Photo ID law in Indiana failed to prevent even the state's top election official from committing voter fraud, but did succeed in preventing octagenarian nuns and WWII vets from casting their votes.
In the Monroe case, you'll note that WisPolitics says, in 2012, the man voted in Shorewood, WI and "then drove to Lebanon, Ind., where he voted again. He also owns a home there."
The Journal Sentinel reports it this way [emphasis added]:
So "the most prolific multiple voter in memory", according to Wisconsin officials, voted perfectly "legally" in Indiana, by showing his state driver license, and yet he was still able to vote illegally more than a dozen times elsewhere. Once again, polling place Photo ID restrictions were in place in Indiana, potentially disenfranchising any number of otherwise legal voters, while failing to deter actual criminals.
According to the prosecutor's complaint: "Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election, two in the August 2011 Alberta Darling recall election, five in the Scott Walker-Tom Barrett recall, one illegal ballot in an August 2012 primary, and two ballots in the November 2012 presidential election."
How did investigators determine that Monroe was the one who fraudulently cast absentee ballots in the name of others? Aside from mismatched signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes, a DNA test of those envelopes found Monroe's DNA, but no DNA of the voters who supposedly sent them, such as his girlfriend and his girlfriend's son.
Another point worth noting, for now. A commenter over at Balloon Juice's coverage of this matter offers this cogent observation:
Good point. Of course, if everyone had an extra 1.6 votes per election, we'd have a real problem. But, the fact is, they don't, because the penalties are very high, and the pay off is, as the commenter notes, very low. In Monroe's case, as WisPolitics noted, each of the 13 felony counts "carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in forefeitures and three-and-a-half years in prison, for a total of $130,000 and 45-and-half years."
Meanwhile, in addition to doing nothing about absentee voter fraud, Republican polling place Photo ID restrictions also do nothing to prevent the most effective type of fraud: wholesale, insider manipulation of electronic voting and tabulation systems, in which a single person, can, in less than 30 seconds time, flip an entire election via computer tabulators, with little possibility of detection.
After all, even in many very close races and those with stunning, upset results, virtually nobody ever bothers to actually count the ballots. When they do, even in Wisconsin, even with outrage anomalies, such as voting system computer tapes with impossible dates or ballot bags torn wide open, nobody really wants to declare an election stolen...at least not after the unverified computer systems have already declared a Republican to be the winner.