Monday, January 17, 2005

Now it's Wisconsin's Turn

Boots & Sabers is now reporting suspicious election results from Milwaukee. Wisconsin allows same day registration, and it seems 75,000 voters in Milwaukee registered to vote at the polls on election day, and then cast their vote immediately.

Of those 75,000 registrations, a full 13% of them, or about 10,000 registrations, are illegible. Presumably the identity of the registrant was checked on election day, but since the registration can’t be read, there is no way to verify the registration. Off of the bat, we have 10,000 votes that were cast in Milwaukee for voters whose existence can’t be verified.

Of the remaining 65,000 registrations for which confirmation cards have finally been sent, the Elections Commission says to expect that a full third of them, or about 22,000, will be returned undeliverable.
To put this in perspective, Ohio registered 800,000 new voters in 2004. Ohio Republicans attempted to challenge 35,000 of them due to due to invalid addresses.

This turned into a PR nightmare when several people they challenged showed up and with their proof of address and were quoted complaining about Republicans trying to disenfranchise them. The Ohio election boards eventually denied all of the challenges.

One of the lessons learned was that undeliverable mail does not necessarily mean that the address - or the voter - does not exist.

With that being said, the undeliverable rate in Milwaukee is significantly higher than Ohio and certainly is enough to raise concern.

The biggest surprise to me is that evidently these 75,000 voters were given regular ballots, instead of provisional ballots, and they were immediately intermingled with other valid ballots, instead of counted later once they were validated.