By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2011, 2:32pm PT  

As things have gotten even worse over the last day or two since our detailed Tuesday night report on the mess in Wisconsin's Supreme Court election "recount" (we hope to have an updated report with the new news there later today), progressive Wisconsin blogger Patrick DePula of "Dispatches from Fitzwalkerstan" reports today that the fight for recall elections of both Republican and Democratic state senators has gotten particularly ugly with Democrats now prepared to file "formal complaints" charging massive "election fraud" (more appropriately "petition fraud"?) by the Republican Party...

As if the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice “recount” isn’t a big enough mess, It appears that the Wisconsin GOP has been engaged in widespread fraud surrounding their attempts to recall democratic senators. Inexplicably, the Republican Party of Wisconsin had relied heavily on people they hired from out of state to collect signatures against democrats, even paying to house these folks in hotel rooms. In all cases, they paid by the signature. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? The decision to pay out of state people when there are plenty of unemployed folks that reside in those senate districts who may actually be invested in the outcome of these recall elections makes no sense at all.

But the story gets even better....

In a press release issued today by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller states “”The overwhelming evidence clearly shows a pervasive pattern of election fraud committed by the shady out-of-state organization hired by Republicans to collect recall petitions,” and “Thousands of Wisconsin citizens fell victim to lies and misinformation spread by the circulators, and the papers submitted by this operation contain a river of omissions and wrong information.”
Miller continued: “We believe that when the facts are reviewed, the GAB will throw out thousands of flawed signatures because they were fraudulent or defective. The vast depth of this misconduct calls into question the legitimacy of every signature collected by these circulators, and shows that the GOP effort failed to gather the valid signatures needed for recall elections.“
Kennedy Enterprises received nearly $100,000 from the Republican Party of Wisconsin to circulate recall petitions. Kennedy owns a tarnished reputation based on past offenses in Colorado.

Some of the cases and examples of election fraud outlined in the formal recall challenge of GOP petitions to be filed this afternoon include:

  • Senate District 12: Of the 534 people contacted who had signed the petition, 9.2% indicated they were misled into signing the petition or asserted they had never signed.
  • Senate District 22: Of the 225 people contacted who had signed the petition, 6.6% indicated they were misled into signing the petition or asserted they had never signed.
  • Senate District 30: Of the 372 people contacted who had signed the petition, 8.6% indicated they were misled into signing the petition or asserted they had never signed.
  • Affidavit of a World War II veteran from Green Bay who was misled into signing a recall petition. Upon learning he had been duped, veteran called the sheriff to get his name removed. When confronted, the circulator claims he will remove the name, but a later review of the petitions reveals the veteran’s name was never crossed off.
  • Many affidavits attesting that Circulator Sherri Ferrell – who gathered nearly 3,000 signatures in two districts — gathered signatures on Indian reservations claiming petitions were to support “schools,” “Democrats,” and “tribal rights.”
  • Affidavit of voter in Senate District 22 attesting that circulator John Prijic claimed the petitions were for work to be done on a local park.
  • Affidavit of voter in Senate District 30 attesting that circulator Annette Lord claimed the petitions were to recall Republican Senator Cowles.
  • Affidavit of voter in Senate District 30 attesting that circulator Richard Madrill claimed the petitions were to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

DePula details still more bullet-point allegations in his coverage, and notes that a "formal challenge" to the petitions will be "filed on behalf of the Democratic senators" this afternoon. A press conference, he ads, will be held this afternoon at 4:15pm local time to discuss the challenge.

For some reason, we suspect that these detailed charges of fraud will not make their way into the fake Fox "News" canon of fake outrage over (usually) fake election-related fraud charges.

As of last night's deadline, petitions for recalls of 6 Republican and 3 Democratic state Senators have been filed with the state. They are now pending confirmation by Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) to assure the appropriate number of legal signatures on each have been collected as per the rule of law.

Given the unprecedent number of likely recall elections, the G.A.B. received approval from a Dane County, WI court to extend the time usually needed to verify signatures, and to consolidate all of the recall elections once petition signatures are approved as legitimate, on a single day, July 12.

The recalls against the Republicans come as part of a public backlash in response to the Republican-led state legislature's controversial --- and potentially illegal --- move to pass Gov. Scott Walker's legislation removing many of the rights for citizens to collectively bargain with the state. The three Democratic recalls are being carried out by Republicans in response to the 14 Democratic Senators who fled the state earlier this year in an attempt to block the legislation by denying the Republicans the quorum needed in the Senate for voting on laws related to the budget.

Eventually, after long insisting the union-stripping measures were budget-related, Republicans took those provisions out of the budget bill, and passed them separately by a simple majority in a non-budget-related bill without Democratic participation. The law, quickly signed by Walker, is now being challenged in state court, as Democrats have argued that it was passed in violation of the state's public meeting laws requiring 24 hours public notice before such bills are discussed in conference and voted on by the legislature.

The challenge to the bill is thought likely to make its way to the state Supreme Court, where Walker and the GOP enjoy a 4 to 3 majority --- pending the outcome of the current Supreme Court election "recount". If the currently unverified results of that election were to be reversed, allowing challenger Joan Kloppenburg a win over the incumbent Republican Justice David Prosser (Walker's former colleague, to whom has promised his fealty), the balance of the court would be shifted away from Walker and the GOP.

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