Message to the Government Accountability Board: Protect Our Recall Elections

By Jim Mueller

Presented to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on March 20, 2012

Graphic by Armchair Patriots

I am a former clerk of the Town of Middleton and I am a founder of and legal counsel for Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection and for Wisconsin Counts, organizations that were formed for the purpose of protecting our elections from election fraud. Many of us are very concerned that Wisconsin is not prepared to prevent, detect or correct the election fraud that may accompany an election of the importance of the upcoming recall elections.

A fact of life is that when there is an important election, frequently someone tries to win by cheating. In Wisconsin, we have evidence of this fact as early as the election for Governor in 1855. That election was so filled with election fraud that the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the announced re-election of the incumbent.

On June 5th, 2012 there will be an election to recall Governor Scott Walker. That Recall Election may be the most important non-presidential election ever held in this country. Going into that election it is important to remember that Scott Walker’s campaign for a student office at Marquette University was marred by cheating. This recall election is vastly more important than was that election and deserves the highest level of vigilance by election officials.

In 2012, we have seen gross anomalies/election fraud in several states as Republicans compete for the Republican Presidential nomination. These anomalies have been detected in areas where the voters and caucus participants have been able to adequately observe the process. We can only estimate how much fraud has occurred in states where results are tabulated by machines and effective observation, inspection and auditing have been prevented

In Wisconsin, our election laws, rules, procedures, technology, training and personnel which are very good at preventing the election fraud that occurred 150 years are not adequate to assure the integrity of elections conducted on electronic voting machines.

The base programming of the electronic voting machines is an escrowed secret, unread and unexamined by Wisconsin officials. In fact none of the G.A.B.’s employees are capable of reading the programming of the voting machines.

The Election Day programming for 1000s of the voting machines (and therefore the counting of our votes) is performed by employees of out of state companies. These people and companies are not vetted, bonded, appointed or sworn to uphold our laws. This is a major concern because the electronic voting machine industry is controlled by a small group of inter-related companies that were funded by adherents to ultra right wing political and religious ideologies.

The pre-election testing of the voting machines (a task that I have performed many times) doesn’t test the programming that will be in effect on Election Day. The election day programming can be manipulated by people who perform the “maintenance” on the machine, by individuals with access to the wired or wireless modems and through the bar coding on the ballots, ballots which are often printed out of state by the companies that program the machines.

In Wisconsin, we do not perform audits of election results before they become official and local election officials are being discouraged, prevented from verifying the machine generated totals. In an email that I have received, it has been suggested that the actual counting of votes by local election officials could be considered to be election fraud.

Preventing our sworn Local Election Officials from manually counting the votes is not election fraud, it is the best way that we have of actually preventing real election fraud. Preventing Local Election Officials from counting the votes is wrong, it is undemocratic and it is un-American. I encourage you to establish positions that encourage an open easily observable manual count of the votes for the recall election. Until vast improvements are made in the laws and the technology of electronic voting, an open manual count of the votes is the only way to assure voters of the actual outcome of the recall elections.

We will be encouraging municipalities to bypass the voting machines completely and to conduct the recall elections on manually counted paper ballots. Those with populations of 7,500 or more need G.A.B. permission to do so. I ask that the G.A.B. encourage this approach and direct the Executive Director to approve all such requests.

I am happy to answer any questions or to provide documentation for any of the statements that I have made. Please, feel free to contact me at any time.


Jim Mueller

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One Comment on “Message to the Government Accountability Board: Protect Our Recall Elections”

  1. Grant March 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Excellent piece. I hope it will be taken seriously.

    One minor editing issue: “Preventing our sworn Local Election Officials from manually counting the votes is not election fraud, it is the best way that we have of actually preventing real election fraud.” Should this read “Allowing our sworn Local Election Officials to manually count…”?

    Also, in view of the likely objection that hand-counting is slow and cumbserome and will unacceptably delay the reporting of results, one could propose that machine totals be announced on election night in the usual way but be considered unofficial until they have been carefully hand-counted, and thus verified, over the following couple of days.

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