Democrats Vote On Wednesday: The Long History Of Conservative Election Fraud
The Koch founded corporate astroturf front group Americans For Prosperity recently sent out absentee ballots to folks in two Wisconsin state districts with recall elections next week that instruct voters to return them after election day. This blatant election fraud is part of a pattern of dirty tricks by conservatives that date back to at least 2004, is part of a broader pattern of anti-democracy schemes, and has just resulted in a lawsuit.
Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date. The fliers ask solidly Democratic voters to return ballots for the Aug. 9 election to the city clerk before Aug. 11. A Democrat on the ground in Wisconsin said the fliers were discovered to be hitting doors in District 2 and District 10 over the weekend.
Shortly after the mailings were sent, a North Hudson, WI man in one of the targeted districts filed a voter suppression complaint.
The AFP mailer clearly states that he should return the absentee ballot application by Aug. 11, but the 10th Senate District recall election between challenger Shelly Moore (D) and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R) takes place on Aug. 9. On Saturday, after consulting with We Are Wisconsin workers based in Hudson and St. Croix County Clerk Cindy Campbell, Shultz officially filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB).
It should be noted that the pro-recall We Are Wisconsin offices just mysteriously burnt to the ground, and there was unconfirmed speculation that “voter records were stolen from that location so the AFP could have the addresses to send out phony ballots to the democratic supporters“, as it appears to match a similar tactic done in Ohio in 2004. These things come on the heels of a recall election process that has been mired in controversy. The Washington Post reported:
Wisconsin GOP state officials have hatched a scheme to run fake Democrats in Dem primary elections against the Democratic recall candidates, in order to delay the general recall election between Dems and the GOP state senators they’re targeting. As the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin warned recently, this could have major ramifications: Because Wisconsin law allows cross-party voting, Republican voters can vote in Dem primaries and vote for the fake Dem candidate in order to keep the real Dem out of the general election. Now there’s been a new twist to this tale. Allies of one of the top GOP targets in the recalls, state senator Randy Hopper, are circulating flyers in his district trying to get out the vote for the fake Dem in the Democratic primary against his Dem opponent.
Democrats Vote On Wednesday
The most recent problems with the AFP fliers that instruct voters to miss their voting deadline actually is far from the first instance of this happening. The first mention of this tactic is actually a satirical article that went viral by The Onion in 2004: Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3. However, following that copy cats started doing this for real to suppress minority turnout that very same election in 2004.
In 2010 this tactic appears to have targeted primarily Latino voters:
•L.A. Latinos Told to Vote on Nov. 3; Watchdogs Cite Trouble Nationally
•GOP-Linked ‘Latinos For Reform’ Airs Nevada Ads Urging Hispanics Not To Vote
•In Woodland Park, Colorado, a town north of Colorado Springs, someone had posted a sign saying that Democrats vote on Wednesday. Election protection notified officials, and the sign has now been taken down.
There is clear and direct evidence of a pattern of election fraud here ranging over many years and in many states by shady conservative forces bent on stifling turnout. Along with direct voter suppression techniques planned or being passed in Republican legislatures around the country, this trend is dangerous for democracy in America.