Kevin Fischer points to a rather remarkable presentation by Milwaukee Alderman Jim Witkowiak during yesterday’s Government Accountability Board hearing. Wisconsin Eye brought its cameras to the meeting, which first dealt with challenges to the nomination papers, and moved to an indepemdent candidate for state Assembly who wanted to put “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch'” as her statement of principle on the ballot (the GAB board narrowly did not overturn the staff recommendation of not allowing it, with 3 of 5 present board members voting to allow it and the potential 4th/deciding vote for allowing it absent).
Immediately after that, the GAB began taking open public comments. Ald. Witkowiak was second on the list, and he explained how both same-day registration and a lack of an ID check can and does affect elections, even to the point of changing the results. I do recommend watching the entire appearance, which begins at the 1:50:50 mark of part 2 of WisEye’s coverage and runs to the end of part 2. A quick summary:
- In the spring 2000 election, Witkowiak lost his re-election bid by 17 votes.
- During the recount, after the campaign of Witkowiak’s opponent admitted to him they caused irregularities, Witkowiak found about 200 people who didn’t exist yet voted in the election, scattered between those who registered at the polls and those who claimed to be somebody they were not. The Milwaukee Election Commission did disallow a bunch of votes, but because there is no way to tell who the disqualified voters voted for, it was a random vote removal and thus did not change the result of the election.
- An assistant city attorney who sat in on the 2000 recount process said that Witkowiak, “There’s more meat in this sandwich than I’ve ever seen before in my life.” Of course, this is Milwaukee, so nothing was done..
- Witkowiak thought he was done with politics after 2000, but the residents of his district pulled him back into the race in 2004, and he once again became an alderman.
- Fast forward to 2008. Witkowiak found that 400 people had registered at the polls in the spring primary, which for the first time in Wisconsin also included the Presidential primary (previously, the Presidential primary was held with the spring general election). Since Witkowiak had a spring general election to run in, he wanted to get a hold of those 400 to campaign to them. After a bit of a delay, the Milwaukee Election Commission gave them to him.
- Witkowiak did a mailing to those 400, and about 80 of those mailings came back as undeliverable. He then went out to try to find those 80, and while he did find a few that existed, he couldn’t find about 75, with reasons ranging from people living at or managing apartments at the location never hearing of the alleged registered voter to the address being a non-residential property to the address simply not existing.
- Witkowiak turned over the evidence to the Milwaukee County District Attorney and the Milwaukee Police Department. Guess what happened? If you said, “Nothing,” give yourself a prize.