Wisconsin Recall Election Integrity In Doubt. Suspicious ‘Free’ Upgrades From Paper To Electronic Voting Booths Occurring Statewide

It is no secret that the Wisconsin recall election will likely get as much coverage, and be just as substantial, as the Presidential election itself. A successful recall of Scott Walker, along with Ohio’s vote to end union busting legislation, will reach far beyond the unions and help all working class people. If the recall succeeds, as it must, this nationwide wave of tax breaks for the rich and cuts for the poor and middle class will likely be slowed, if not entirely stopped. To show just how important this election is, just look at Scott Walker’s money. Over sixty percent of his donations came from out of stake a majority of that money between a handful of people donating hundreds of thousands each. You see, Walker is banking off a law that says until the recall election is called he can raise limitless funds. On the other side of the aisle, we accept that we, the residents of Wisconsin, may not be able to compete with out of state money, but we know a majority of Wisconsinites have felt the damage done and no matter how many ads you run, it will not put them back to work and will not put food on their tables.

Wisconsin has had very good election integrity for so many years. I have heard that we are one of only a handful of states that still uses optical scanners in most, if not all, of the voting machines, leaving a paper trail should we need a recount. As many other states have already embraced questionable touch screen machines for voting, Wisconsin hasn’t. Until now. Now don’t get me wrong it could just be bad timing, but in at least one county, and it is rumored possibly more, city and/or county clerks this year and last year were offered a free upgrade to two touch screen machines for each optical scanning machine they get rid of. And some of them bit. The information comes from the town of Prairie Lake, a small town in Northwest Wisconsin up in Barron, Wisconsin in a review of their minutes for December 13th, 2011. This information was originally found by Digital Media Researcher Bryan Bliss from digitalcampaignstrategy.com, who found similar quotations in municipalities across the state as well. It was later spread by both Bryan Bliss of Wisconsin Counts, and ended up in my hands.

From the minutes:

Clerk announced that the Insight voting machine has been traded for 2 Edge (touch screen) voting machines. Command Central, the vendor, was offering this exchange with no charge.

But this was not just a one town issue. It has also been seen in Bear Lake, where they mention that every municipality in Barron County could do the trade for free. It also turned up in Platteville. Although they were only trading their handicap machines. That may be the case with other municipalities. We don’t know. One would be able to assume the chances are good they offered everyone in Grant County as well, where Platteville is located. When they refer to Command Central they are referring to the company making the machines. But what makes this story even more odd is that this would mean that the machines were likely offered to some, if not all, of the municipalities in the State. Optical machines can be hacked, this is true.  But they also leave a paper trail. And it is very hard, yet not impossible (as we may have seen in Waukesha County), to fool a hand recount with a paper trail. Of course the code is proprietary in the machines and no one knows who programs them for both optical machines and touch screens. But touch screen machines significantly lower election integrity because instead of relying on a paper trail, as we have for years, we now have a fully digital record that can be manipulated at will. We just have to trust that these people who spend millions of dollars to get a candidate elected would not do the same to control the vote through “giveaway” machines.

I think the Simpsons have best demonstrated the dangers of touch screen voting:

As this story became an ongoing project between a number of individuals and myself, something else was discovered. And this makes the offering of machines even more interesting. Command Central makes boatloads of money every year certifying ballots to work with their machines. This is millions of dollars in income and I would estimate at least a noticeable chunk to lose. Also, the machines cannot be cheap to make. Unfortunately, although there may be a reasonable explanation, we will likely never know because the people who make the machines operate in total secrecy. So we are are left with a lot of fingers pointing at possible election fraud. And one or two pointing the direction of legitimacy. But our elections are not something I will leave to chance. I just don’t feel comfortable taking that gamble. Do you? We are just now starting to get a grasp how insecure our elections are.  And any of this could be legitimate business. Unfortunately we may never know, because of all of the secrecy.

I am calling on all citizens of Wisconsin to call your city clerk and your county clerk and let them know you do not approve of touch screen machines. These are elected positions, so let them know how you will not vote for them if they do not allow for a full paper trail and a process that relies not on “trust”, but rather a well thought out protocol to keep our elections secure. Call the Federal Election Commission at (202) 694-1000 and demand they look into these new machines as well as the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board at 608-266-8005 and demand the same. This offer for “free” upgrades is popping up across the State. And please share this article, that is the only way this will get out. We will continue fighting.

One day longer!  One day stronger!

Jeremy Ryan

Executive Director

Defending Wisconsin PAC

[email protected]

[Editor’s Note: Donations made through this post go to the author, not the website]

Note: Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. His full-time activism is completely funded by the people. If you would like to help out please click here.