One day after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced the formation of an investigative panel to look into the potential fraud surrounding same-day registrations in the last presidential election, one of the commissioners he named demonstrated her open mind by ridiculing critics of her management of the vote:
A week after questions arose over 10,000 voters who registered on election day but whose identity couldn’t be confirmed with verification cards, Milwaukee’s top election official declared Friday that the number is inaccurate because it is based on an estimate.
Nonetheless, she could not provide an accurate count of how many people registered Nov. 2.
“We didn’t have 5,000 people who voted twice,” Lisa Artison, executive director of the city Election Commission, told an elections task force. “We did not have 10,000 people who voted who shouldn’t have voted.” …
At the task force meeting, which Stone attended, Artison stressed that the 84,000 number was an estimate, and then read an extensive dictionary definition of the word “estimate.”
She later questioned an “agenda” by critics – including the media – in using the 10,000 number. She and others have said the gap is due to illegible cards, cards with incomplete information or cards that are duplicates, among other reasons.
As I wrote yesterday, the inclusion of Artison on any investigative panel that wants to look into the election she ran amounts to nothing more than a whitewash. Artison won’t approach this with an open mind and quite obviously has much more interest in crippling the investigation than in helping it succeed. She spends her time lashing out at critics and denigrating their “agendas” instead of accounting for those voters, as Wisconsin law requires.
At the least, the panel should look into the incompetence in Artison’s department. The day before the election, you’ll recall, Barrett had to shift other city employees into Artison’s office because three-quarters of the 20,000 voter registrations they received had not been processed by Artison’s staff. It’s now been eleven weeks after the election, and Artison claims she still can’t come up with an accurate count of same-day registrations from November 2nd. Instead of reading dictionaries to the task force, why isn’t she counting the registrations?
Greg Borokowski writes a restrained response to Artison’s grandstanding:
In explaining how the estimate was derived, she said: “You take the number of people who voted on election day, the gross number, and you subtract the number of pre-registered people who voted. The difference is the estimate (of same-day registrations).”
It is unclear why the remaining number would not represent people who registered at the polls and voted, or why the city did not review polling place logs that show how many people registered at each before submitting the estimate. The state requires the actual number, not an estimate.
What also isn’t clear is why Barrett named Artison to the panel, unless he wants to sweep all of this under the rug as quickly as possible. State Rep. Jeff Stone wants the panel disbanded and an investigation launched by the state legislature instead. From Artison’s attack strategy and Barrett’s stacking of the city’s panel, it appears nothing less will suffice, and even that may be better handled by the FEC. As long as Barrett and Artison remain in charge of the investigation, the Silence of the Cheese will remain deafening.