The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel continues to cover the questions swirling around the Wisconsin presidential election results, even if the national media yawns at the prospect. Greg Borokowski reports that the 84,000 election-day registrants in the city of Milwaukee just about matches the same number as 2000 (hat tip: CQ reader JB):
Lisa Artison, executive director of the city Election Commission, said the number of cards that could not be sent out this time was comparable to the number after the 2000 presidential election. …
At issue is a gap between the city’s estimate of 84,000 election-day registrants and 73,079 verification cards that were sent, as required by law. …
If the 84,000 estimate of election-day registrants is accurate, 13% of the cards could not be processed. The 84,000 number, about 30% of the 277,535 people who voted in the November election, includes regular voters who may have moved, as well as new voters.
The 10,000 votes questioned represents 3.6% of all voters.
Part of the confusion about this story results from confusing the city and county numbers from Milwaukee, a problem I had myself earlier today. In this case, however, the MSJ specifies that the 84,000 same-day registrations came just from the city — and that they account for 30.2% of all votes cast in the city. How many other cities had almost a third of their registered voters show up for the first time on Election Day?
As it turns out, Milwaukee did the exact same thing in the prior presidential election:
After the 2000 presidential election, she said, the initial city estimate to the state was that 81,000 people registered and voted. That year, the cards that were ultimately able to be processed numbered 73,847.
In 2000, 245,670 people voted in Milwaukee. The 7,153 same-day registrations that couldn’t be processed then represented 2.9% of the total.
That means in just one four-year span, the city of Milwaukee processed 165,000 voter registrations in just two days, both of them Election Day — in a city that turned out 245,000 and 277,000 votes on each day. Either Milwaukee has a 30% turnover in residency over a four-year period, or a substantial fraud occurred in both years.
For this election in my state of Minnesota, which allows the same kind of same-day registration, the number of successful same-day registrants (440,263) only accounts for 15.6% of all votes, and only 12% of the estimated total of registered voters in Minnesota. Even those numbers seemed high to us here, but next to Milwaukee, they’re almost insignificant. In Hennepin County (Minneapolis), the most analogous to Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, the same-day registrations only account for 15.4% of the votes, while in neigboring Ramsey (St. Paul), they comprise an anemic 9.4% of the total number of votes cast.
Do a third of Milwaukee residents change their residency every four years and fail to re-register to vote? Or could it be that the overwhelming number of provisional registrations show a concerted effort to skew Wisconsin presidential elections in one particular direction? I find it hard to believe that two neighboring states could have such a wide variance in residency. Instead of focusing their ire on Bush’s wide margin of victory in Ohio, the Senate should call for a federal investigation into the razor-thin results in Wisconsin for both 2000 and 2004.