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January 25, 2005
Invalid Addresses Add To Milwaukee's Voter Irregularities

Greg Borowski at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has conducted a review of votes cast in the last presidential election and found that over 1,200 of them came from voters at non-existent addresses. These votes add to the total of the same-day registrants whom the city cannot verify, raising even more questions about the competency of city election officials:

A review of Milwaukee voting records from the Nov. 2 presidential election has found more than 1,200 ballots cast from invalid addresses in the city, including many cases in which the voter could not be located at all. ...

The newspapers review, the most extensive analysis done so far of the election, revealed 1,242 votes coming from a total of 1,135 invalid addresses. That is, in some cases more than one person is listed as voting from the address. Of the 1,242 voters with invalid addresses, 75% registered on site on election day, according to city records. ...

Already, the newspaper has reported that about 8,300 more votes were cast than the number of people recorded by the city as voting. This appears to be due to cases where cards from those who presented identification and registered on election day could not be processed, a gap that the citys own estimates had put at more than 10,000.

In any case, those are not included in the city database and are not part of the papers review, which involved checking each voters address against two separate lists of properties in the city.

A spot check of addresses that came back as invalid found cases where the address in question is a park, a baseball diamond and at or near the W. Wisconsin Ave. bridge. In most cases, though, there simply was no building at that address.

The additional 1200 voters only accounts for less than one percent of all votes cast in the city. Combined with the unaccountable same-day registrations, however, the additional votes provide an uncomfortable coincidence; the total comes to almost exactly John Kerry's margin of victory for the entire state. It also contributes to the growing consensus that Milwaukee's voting system has broken down, mainly due to the wild same-day registration laws and a lack of competency in the election office.

Lisa Artison, the executive director of the city's Election Commission and a strange addition to the supposedly independent panel investigating its performance, didn't hesitate to make excuses when informed of the new issue:

Lisa Artison, executive director of the city Election Commission, said simply: The results you obtained make it clear the new statewide voter system is very badly needed and long overdue.

But that system, to be online late this year, will do little to safeguard against problems with same-day voter registration, or with the flood of registration cards the city received in the final days before Nov. 2.

And it wasn't like Artison and the city hadn't been warned about the problem, either:

Questions about the accuracy of the citys voter rolls, and whether adequate safeguards are in place to prevent fraud, were raised before the Nov. 2 election.

Six days before the election, the state Republican Party challenged 5,619 addresses on the city voter rolls as non-existent, including vacant lots, a billboard and a gyros stand. The challenge, though, was rejected by the city Election Commission, which said the GOP had not met the high legal standard for dropping names from voter rolls.

A review by the city attorneys office found many cases where the addresses did exist, but could be explained by errors such as numbers from registration cards that were transposed. In other cases, though, officials agreed that addresses on the GOP list didnt exist.

These issues reflect the incompetence of Artison in addition to the fraud that Milwaukee's flood of same-day registrations in two successive presidential elections suggest. It demonstrates even further the need for Wisconsin's legislature to prevent the cheesewash that Mayor Barrett and Artison plan. The legislature must investigate this themselves with a truly independent board of inquiry, if not a criminal investigation.

UPDATE: I just checked my e-mail, and I see Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind has weighed in on this new development:

The Journal Sentinel's Greg Borowski continues to put together some fine work on Milwaukee's Election Day problems. His latest find is that 1,242 votes came from voters whose addresses do not exist. Reporters found a park, a baseball diamond, an alley, and a bridge at addresses voters claimed in order to vote. What isn't surprising is that 75% of those bad addresses came from same-day registration. Mayor Barrett's chief of staff Patrick Curley took the ostrich approach and said this was no sign of fraud. If it wasn't fraud then why would a voter use a non-existent address?

There's little doubt that the individual voters committed election fraud. Normally, one would say that it doesn't prove a conspiracy to throw an election. However, the numbers of unaccountable voters here have added up to a significant portion of the Milwaukee election -- four percent overall -- and it looks like more than just a collection of petty frauds. That doesn't even count the fact that almost a third of all Milwaukee voters registered on Election Day, an astronomical number. Something stinks in Milwaukee, and it ain't the cheese.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! For a complete run-down of my posts on this matter, click here. To see some of the work done by other bloggers besides myself and Sean Hackbarth, check out Michelle Malkin, Pull On Superman's Cape, Polipundit, and Boots and Sabers, whose work on the story precedes mine.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 25, 2005 4:58 AM

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