A voter in Glendale, Wis., casts a ballot in a Democratic primary on Thursday, July 12, 2011, as part of recall efforts against Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling. Darling is one of six Republican state senators being targeted for recall for supporting Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill this winter. Three Democratic state senators are also being targeted for recall for fleeing the state to stall action on the bill. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde) (AP)

A whiff of Koch-backed foul play in Wisconsin recalls

A conservative group has sent absentee ballot applications to Democrats with the wrong return date


Natasha Lennard
August 2, 2011 7:03PM (UTC)

Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin -- and the Koch-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is behind it.

The second round of state Senate recall elections is scheduled for Aug. 9 -- when six Republicans will face Democratic challengers -- and voters have been sent absentee ballot applications. The problem is, Democratic voters in a number of districts received mailers advising that they return absentee ballots by Aug. 11 (two days too late to be counted). The misleading notices came from AFP.

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The Wisconsin Democratic Party, Politico reports, is now filing a formal complaint against the conservative group for "falsely representing the time frame" of the recall elections.

"[AFP] has displayed a continued pattern of tampering with the electoral process in Wisconsin with elaborate, illegal and fraudulent schemes designed to suppress Democratic votes," Margaret Brick of the WDP told Politico.

The mailers specifically targeted Democratic voters in two districts where Republican incumbents face recall on Aug. 9. In response to accusations that it intentionally deceived voters, AFP claims that the wrong election date on the applications was a "printing mistake" -- a mistake the group says it is addressing by putting calls in to every person on the mailing list to remind them of the correct election date.

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AFP claims that the mailers were only sent to its members, despite the fact that those targeted with the ballot notices were nearly all self-identifying Democrats. However, AFP-Wisconsin's director, Matt Seaholm, is not taking seriously the allegations : "I'm sure the liberals will try to make a mountain out of a molehill in an attempt to distract voters' attention from the issues."


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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