State Political and Government News: Democrats organize absentee voting effortsWisconsin News
-- Democrats are trying to lock up as many votes as possible for Tom Barrett before the governor’s recall Election Day on June fifth. Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold plans to meet with supporters this afternoon in Middleton to explain their absentee voting options – and he’ll then lead voters to the Middleton City Hall where people can get their votes in the can right away.
Democrats are trying to lock up as many votes as possible for Tom Barrett before the governor’s recall Election Day on June fifth. Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold plans to meet with supporters this afternoon in Middleton to explain their absentee voting options – and he’ll then lead voters to the Middleton City Hall where people can get their votes in the can right away.
A similar event was planned in Eau Claire, where state Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma and Democratic U.S. House candidate Pat Kreitlow will lead absentee voters. Both parties have conducted these types of early voting rallies for about a decade, after Wisconsin did away with the requirement of stating a specific reason to vote absentee. Last year, Republicans tried to cool down the trend by cutting the early voting period in half. It used to run for about a month before an election. But now, it only lasts two weeks – and early voting now ends the Friday before Election Day instead of the Monday before.
Absentee voters showed up in big numbers in many parts of Wisconsin yesterday, as early voting began for the June 5th recall elections. Clerks generally said their first-day turnouts were about on par for a November election – and the crowds were much bigger than for the May eighth recall primaries or the April presidential primary. Madison recorded over 400 absentee votes by mid-afternoon. In Wausau, voters were waiting for the city clerk’s office to open at eight a.m., and Clerk Toni Rayala said the crowds were much bigger than she expected. Brookfield had steady business all day long. Milwaukee’s Election Commission lost its connection to a statewide voter registration database for about a half-hour late yesterday. Officials took about 20 votes during that time anyway. And those voters were told that if the state system showed they were not registered, their ballots would be held up until they returned to sign up. Absentee voting continues through Friday, June first in the recall elections four days later for governor, lieutenant governor, and four state Senate seats.
Governor Scott Walker’s campaign says it has nothing to do with people getting billed on their credit cards for donations to Walker that they never made. The journalism Web site “ProPublica” said last week that credit card issuer Capital One flagged Walker donations as potentially fraudulent. And it quoted retired teacher Mary Ann Nellis from upstate New York as getting a five-dollar charge on her card from Walker’s Republican campaign, even though she wouldn’t give to the governor quote, “over her dead body.” Yesterday, Ciara Matthews of the Walker camp told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the false charges were quote, “a result of criminals attempting to use stolen credit card information data from sources other than the campaign.” ProPublica said it tried to get Matthews to be more specific, but she had not commented. Nellis said Capital One told her that the company’s fraud department found what it called “potential fraud concerns.” And ProPublica said the company flagged the Walker donation because it did not fit the pattern of spending on her card. Matthews said the Walker campaign quote, “constantly reviews our security procedures with our vendors and credit card companies to ensure the protection of our contributors.” But ProPublica said there have been other reports about campaign donation vehicles being connected to possible fraud. It cited a Washington Times report that Mitt Romney’s collection system made credit card information of online donors accessible even to amateur snoopers.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is defending his chief investigator in the John Doe probe into Governor Scott Walker’s former county aides. That’s after a report that David Budde has a “Recall Walker” sign in front of his house. Chisholm said Budde’s wife – who’s also a Milwaukee County employee – put up the sign in the couple’s yard about a week ago. The DA said Budde himself did not sign the Walker recall petition, and he has conducted himself with independence and professionalism during the two-year-old John Doe probe. It has resulted in criminal charges against five aides and associates of the Republican Walker when he was the Milwaukee County executive. Chisholm also said he does not quote, “regulate or control the constitutional freedoms of my employees’ families in their private lives.” He said they have the right to under state laws and county civil service rules to express their political views like anyone else can.
A state lawmaker who’s running for Congress was late in filing a required statement that she would not run for her state post this fall. Democrat Kelda Helen Roys of Madison is running for Tammy Baldwin’s U.S. House seat this fall. She was supposed to file a statement with the Government Accountability Board by last Friday declaring that she would give up her Assembly seat. But Roys didn’t file the document until yesterday. So those running for the Assembly post will get three extra days to file nomination papers. Their deadline will be on June fourth, instead of the normal June first. Republican lawmakers added parts of Sauk and Columbia counties to Roys’ district. Incumbent Assembly Democrat Fred Clark of Baraboo and Republican Scott Frostman of Baraboo have registered as candidates.