Gov. Scott Walker has divided Wisconsin like no politician since the 1880s. His government engaged in what critics called a campaign of naked corruption almost from the day he took office. He was accused of illegally using the police to threaten, harass and intimidate the families of his opponents in the state legislature. He was accused of attempting to deploy the National Guard against peaceful demonstrators.
He committed his administration to an extreme proposal to strip public servants of collective bargaining rights, despite having campaigned not on that proposal, but on job-creation. He was recorded on a phone call sting telling an individual he thought was one of the billionaire Koch brothers he would accept a gift vacation in exchange for stripping the state’s public servants of their rights.
Now, in a shocking revelation of election fraud, the Wisconsin Republican party has admitted to entering fake Democratic candidates into the recall election process, in an effort to derail the recall of Republican state senators. The coordinated campaign of election fraud should be grounds for a federal criminal prosecution of those involved in the conspiracy, though tonight’s news is that in early returns, one true Democrat has already won the primary and the other five are leading the fraudulent candidates.
The fake candidate fraud is just one element of what now appears to be a state-wide Wisconsin Republican effort to disrupt the election. There are reports of an out-of-state phone campaign to mislead Wisconsin voters into believing they should not vote and instead wait for an absentee ballot. There are also reports that some poll workers were told to attempt to block any voter not showing photo ID, though photo IDs are not yet required in Wisconsin.
Poll workers were also a target of the campaign to create confusion, as conflicting information was put out, regarding whether existing voter registration rolls were the correct place for a legitimate signature, or whether a signature was required to be entered in a new list of registered voters.
The election fraud, voter-distraction phone calls and alleged attempts to disrupt voter activity at polling locations, come after Walker’s Republican majority in the state Senate held an illegally closed meeting in order to force through legislation that was not prepared or voted according to the established legislative process.
As the recall effort moves forward, it is expected the six Democratic candidates will have a strong chance of winning at least three more seats, enough to retake control of the state Senate. It is expected a recall effort against the governor will get underway as soon as he is eligible for recall, after one full year in office, and that there will now be a coordinated statewide effort to undo the radical reforms imposed in such authoritarian fashion on Wisconsinites.