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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Voter Disinformation Campaign Underway in Wisconsin?

If you know anyone who believes that a disinformation campaign to confuse voters is beneath the dignity of the GOP, have them read Eric Kleefeld’s Talking Points Memo post “Koch Group Mails Suspicious Absentee Ballot Letters In Wisconsin” and think again. Kleefeld explains:

Is the Koch-backed conservative group Americans For Prosperity up to no good in the Wisconsin state Senate recalls?
As Politico reports, mailers have now turned up from Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, addressed to voters in two of the Republican-held recall districts, where the elections will be held on August 9. The mailers ask recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application, and send it in — by August 11, after Election Day for the majority of these races.
“These are people who are our 1’s [solid Democrats] in the voterfile who we already knew,” a Democratic source told Politico. “They ain’t AFP members, that’s for damn sure.”

A little creative snooping helped i.d. the source of the disinformation, as Kleefeld reports:

There are two other recall elections being held on August 16, targeting two Democratic incumbents, but they are both a distance away from the recipients of these particular mailers.
Furthermore, a close look at the mailer shows a continuation of irregularities that have already involved conservative groups and absentee ballots in the state.
The mailing address for the applications is listed as “Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center, P.O. Box 1327, Madison WI 53701-1327.” A Google search shows that this address is not any sort of government office, but has been used by the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action.
In addition, Wisconsin Right To Life previously used the same address for absentee ballot application letters and phone calls that were sent out shortly before the July 12 Democratic primaries, but after the official deadlines for the applications. The group responded to criticism, saying the phone calls were intended to be for the general elections in August.
Calls placed by TPM to Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, and to Wisconsin Family Action, were not immediately returned.

Kleefeld goes on to report that Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin director Matt Seaholm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the August 11 date in the mailer was a typo, and that the group is not trying to mislead voters. “No (mailing) list is perfect,” Seaholm said.
But “George C” adds in the comments in response to Kelfeld’s post “Not uncommon. Some guys on the Repub payroll were recently convicted in Maryland of posting fliers in African American communities stating that the actual voting day was the day after Election day. Not to mention the guy in NH who blocked calls to the Dem HQ on election day.”
UPDATE: According to Jason Zimmerman’s report at WBAY’s website (ABC Green Bay affiliate),

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is working to clear up confusion surrounding absentee voting in the upcoming recall elections…The board says it has reports of automated phone calls or telephone polls giving people the wrong election dates.
The GAB also says it has several reports of unofficial absentee ballot applications going out to voters.
While it’s legal for political parties and other groups to distribute absentee ballot applications, the GAB getting reports of forms containing errors, such as incorrect voting addresses and dates.

Gee, wonder who is behind all that? Sounds like it’s time for the DOJ to step in, find out and prosecute.

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