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Sheriff's Department Launches Probe Into Alleged Voting Irregularities

Action taken as Racine County Republican Party files four affidavits from observers who say they say problems at the polls on June 5.

The Racine County Sheriff's Department has launched an investigation into voter irregularities in the June 5 recall election after the county Republican Party filed four affidavits Wednesday detailing possible problems at the polls.

Lou D'Abbraccio, a board member of Racine County GOP, coordinated the poll observers on Election Day. He collected and turned in the affidavits from several poll observers to the Sheriff’s Department.

And more are coming this week, he said.

“We’re just trying to bring an awareness of some of these issues,” D’Abbraccio said. “We think there were significant irregularities in the election that were process related, things that had to do with a lack of training on part of poll workers, and some that were willfully done on the part of the poll worker.”

Sheriff's Lt. Steven Sikora told Patch that the department has received the affidavits and has assigned an investigator to the case.

“There are a number of things being decided,” he said Wednesday. “We need to decide whether these are going to be treated as one case or several. We’re also getting more information in every day. And it’s my understanding that there is more coming.

“But I can say that this is going to have a lot of follow-up.”

D’Abbraccio said the affidavits were filed because the party believes there is a “breakdown in the integrity of the election.”

“We are going to insist that the laws be upheld and the standards in the law with registration of voters be upheld,” D’Abbraccio said. “It’s my belief that when the process starts to erode it is exploited systematically and opportunistically… I have no proof of fraud, but what we have is anecdotal evidence and we want to ensure that those opportunities don’t exist.”

Poll workers' actions questioned

The affidavits filed with the department allege:

  • A polling inspector refused to uphold the challenge of a poll watcher, who saw that a voter had showed improper documentation to a poll worker at Bryant Park in Racine. The voter had submitted a handwritten rental receipt as proof of residency.
  • A poll worker at the Jefferson Lighthouse was seen canvassing while she was supposed to be working. The woman claimed she was asked to let voters know that they shouldn't park near the student play area, but poll watchers followed the woman outside and noticed she was going door to door.
  • A poll worker provided assistance to voters and did not document it.
  • In at least one polling site, poll workers were supposed to have a witness oversee the transfer of copy of absentee ballots onto real ballots that could go through the machine, but they only had one person doing the work Caesar Chavez Center in Racine.

When the absentee ballots were being processed, some of the ballots were on regular paper copies the clerk had made. However, those paper ballots had to be transferred onto the heavier card stock paper that the electronic voting machines could read. The procedure requires that one person to transfer the votes while another poll worker acted as a witness, D'Abbraccio said.

Bill Folk, chairman for the Racine County Republican Party, said these problems are nothing new.

"In the past elections, however, poll workers have been very accommodating of poll watchers," Folk said. "This year we noticed a marked difference in their attitudes. I don’t know why."

Democratic leader is skeptical of complaints

Jane Witt, chairman for the Democratic Party of Racine, said the allegations are not valid and they are just rumors.

“These (complaints) were not verified with the city, village or county clerks’ offices because there was nothing to verify,” Witt said.

Also, when people were told that they couldn’t use certain documents as proof of residency, Witt said the voters could have used provisional ballots.

A provisional ballot is issued to a voter who is unable to provide the poll workers with documentation as required by law. If that voter can provide correct documentation by the Friday after the election, the vote is then counted.

“If there were challenges, then a provisional ballot can be cast. But I don’t think the poll workers were telling voters that they could use them,” Witt said. “We’ve always had provisional ballots. If you can’t provide proof of residency at that poll, then you can use it.”

Wendy Christiansen, Racine County Clerk, said that only seven provisional ballots were filed in the county.

“No one filed any complaints with my office on Election Day,” she said.

thisismyusername June 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
The "breakdown in integrity of the election" was their guy lost. Dabbracio screams the same story every election and ends up with no proof - just hot air.
melissa Warner June 21, 2012 at 03:03 AM
These alleged irregularities do not constitute fraud, and have nothing to do with voter ID.
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Ummm... did you miss the part wherein D'Abbraccio was quoted as having said " I have no proof of fraud, but what we have is anecdotal evidence and we want to ensure that those opportunities don’t exist?" And who said anything about Voter ID in the article? Did you even read the story?
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 05:23 AM
"“These (complaints) were not verified with the city, village or county clerks’ offices because there was nothing to verify,” Witt said." Isn't it kind of hard to verify these kinds of complaints in such a fashion when the election officials were turning a blind eye to the challenges and assertions of shenanigans? Isn't that also why these complaints had to be taken directly to the GAB and the County Sheriff's and DA's offices? But then, after originally asserting that problems really didn't exist, Witt later admits that "I don’t think the poll workers were telling voters that they could use [provisional ballots]," thus implying that poll workers were instead allowing people with insufficient documentation and/or proof of residency to just register anyway! Good heavens, do the Dems honestly believe that their supporters are that stupid that they'd buy into their spin and hypocrisy? Clearly, there are enough assertions and documented proof of shenanigans and/or improper procedures being employed at the City of Racine polls to warrant this investigation, and it should be thoroughly conducted with the results made public.
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Ummm... D'Abbraccio does have proof - the people that submitted the affidavits. And the Sheriff is just investigating the validity of those affidavits so that if the kind of activity that's asserted in the affidavits is occurring, procedures and training can be initiated before November in the hopes of preventing similar occurrences from happening then and in the future. The goal is preserving the integrity of our elections and maintaining and/or restoring faith in our electoral process, and what is so wrong with that exactly? Did you have a problem with Kloppy screaming election fraud in Waukesha County two February's ago, despite an investigation by an independent prosecutor turning up absolutely nothing? Not to mention the fact that she stuck the rest of the state with a huge recount bill when she could have chosen to limit the recount solely to Waukesha County?
morninmist June 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Wanggaard is sticking the taxpayers with a bill also. Keep that in mind.
Buppa John June 21, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Hey Jimmy, do you read what you write before you post it? First you write, "Ummm... D'Abbraccio does have proof - the people that submitted the affidavits." Then you write, "Ummm... did you miss the part wherein D'Abbraccio was quoted as having said " I have no proof of fraud." Assertions are NOT documented proof. They are assertions. That is why it is being investigated. Oh by the way..., love the cement boots. Ever wear 'em swimming?
morninmist June 21, 2012 at 02:59 PM
This one will be looked into also: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-wisconsin-election-complaint-20120617,0,4509420.story America United ‏@Progress2day Complaint Filed Against Illinois Election Observer - - In Racine Recall Episode http://bit.ly/LDWF4X #wiunion #wiright #p2 #p2b via @jer45
Dorothy Feeney June 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Most of us have a clear understanding of how hard and long poll officials work on election day. They receive little pay and work more out of a snese of civic duty than desire for monitary reward. My experience as a poll watcher in 2008 at the Jefferson site was that no workers were given a lunch hour. Lunch is brought in and the workers eat while they work. I think this reparted incident must be a case of mistaken identity. But if it isn't, electioneering was not taking place at the voting site.
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
@Buppa John - One could ask you the same question about your posts, as you obviously didn't notice that my responses were in regards to two separate and unique postings by two different Patch commentators. thisismyusername did not reference fraud, but rather asserted that D'Abbraccio usual screams blind assertions and comes up with nothing. Well, this time, he has proof of something, affidavits submitted by others, which are sworn statements and punishable as perjury if found to be false. I'd definitely say that's more than "no proof," wouldn't you? melissa Warner, on the other hand, referenced fraud in her statement, as you can clearly see. And if she read the article at all, she'd see that D'Abbraccio expressly stated that while he doesn't have prima facie proof of fraud per say, he does have proof of something. Did you even read the comments that I was responding to or the actual article itself before you decided to erroneously slam me? So, are you reading deficient, or do you just have a problem with comprehension?
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
@morninmist - You're a little late to the party - there was a whole article dedicated to that story already, and the consensus conclusion reached is that if the IL poll watcher is to be prosecuted for violating election laws, then the woman who filed the complaint, one of your fellow recallers, should also be prosecuted for engaging in illegal electioneering inside a polling place by refusing to remove the 'Recall Walker' button that she was wearing upon entering the polling location in question. Or are you libs so hypocritical that you think that the law only applies to and should be enforced against conservatives, but not liberals? Get real - woman who violates the law files complain against woman who called her out on such violation for violating the law in calling her out on her own violation of the law. This story just demonstrates how warped liberals are in that they think that they're above the law but others aren't. Proof of the snobby elitist attitude that your side is stereotyped upon. Try again!
Johnny Blade June 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Pretty hard to prove fraud when you don't need nothing but to breathe to vote
James R Hoffa June 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
@morninmist - Actually, there's a group of Wanggaard supporters that have started to raise money to reimburse the County the full actual costs of the recount. If this effort is successful, then this recount will have cost the taxpayers absolutely nothing. We're still waiting for the liberals to offer to do the same for the Kloppy recount and all of the frivolous recalls that you guys put the state through over the last year and half. So, when are you guys going to man up? You can organize and raise money for the recount and recalls, but for some reason, you can't do the same to reimburse the taxpayers for the crap that you guys insisted upon!?!? There's something wrong with the mental process of those on your side! Just goes to show that conservatives are responsible stewards of the public treasure and exercise personal responsibility while liberals are nothing but moochers!
Buppa John June 22, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Jimmy- I did indeed read it all, until your last two replies. I don't have the time nor the patience to interpret your poor grammar, spelling and failure to directly answer a question. Ho hummm...
jukap29 July 02, 2012 at 05:05 PM
HA HA, I guess morninmist had no answer for that - doesn't surprise me that once the "You're as bad as we are" argument falls down - liberals have no leg to stand on. Conservatives need to remember that and NOT stoop to their level

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