The state of Wisconsin faced serious problems of election fraud in the 2004 election in what some of us at the time called “The Silence of the Cheese.” In the aftermath of the embarrassing scandal, the state pushed hard for reforms — unsuccessfully at times, as with voter-ID laws — and raised the enforcement profile for voter fraud. Before the 2008 election, Wisconsin’s Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm formed a special task force to combat attempts to pervert elections, especially in Milwaukee, where most of the problems occurred in 2004.
Today, Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases — including two felony indictments against two ACORN employees [see update IV below] for scheming to have people register multiple times in November 2008. The AG released this statement today:
MILWAUKEE – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Milwaukee Election Fraud Task Force has brought additional electoral fraud cases against five Wisconsin residents. The Department of Justice, acting as Special Prosecutor for Milwaukee County, has filed felony charges against Maria Miles, Kevin Clancy, Michael Henderson, Herbert Gunka, and Suzanne Gunka, all alleging election fraud arising out of the November 4, 2008, Presidential Election.
“The integrity of elections is dependent upon citizens and officials insisting they be conducted lawfully. Wisconsin’s citizens should not have to wonder whether their vote has been negated or diminished by illegally cast ballots,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.
According to the criminal complaints, Miles and Clancy served as Special Registration Deputies (“SRD”) for the City of Milwaukee in advance of the 2008 Presidential Election. Each worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (“ACORN”). Miles and Clancy are each charged with the felony offense of Falsely Procuring Voter Registration as Party to a Crime. The complaint alleges that Miles and Clancy submitted multiple voter registration applications for the same individuals, and also were part of a scheme in which they and other SRDs registered each other to vote multiple times in order to meet voter registration quotas imposed by ACORN.
Henderson is charged with one count of Voting by a Disqualified Person and one count of Providing False Information to Election Officials, both felonies. The complaint alleges that Henderson registered to vote at the polls on November 4, 2008, thereby certifying that he was a qualified elector. It also alleges that he then cast a ballot. At that time, Henderson was on an active period of probation for felony convictions from Rock County. A felon on an active period of supervision for a felony offense is prohibited by state law from voting in any election.
Herbert and Suzanne Gunka are each charged with the felony offense of Double Voting. The complaint alleges that they each voted in the November 2008 election by casting absentee ballots before the election. The complaint also alleges that after casting absentee ballots, they each voted in person at their polling place on election day.
Each individual charge carries a potential penalty of imprisonment up to 3 ½ years and a $10,000 fine. All defendants are ordered in for an initial appearance on April 20, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.
The links to the filings are here:
The Miles-Clancy complaint has some interesting allegations, which will undoubtedly create problems for ACORN in the future. According to Maria Miles, ACORN required employees to register five people in a six-hour period. Over the course of a week, that requirement gradually increased to 20 new registrants in a six-hour period. If they failed to meet their goals on any one day, they would get docked an hour’s pay. If they failed to meet that goal three days in a row, ACORN would fire them.
So instead of getting fired, ACORN workers began registering each other. Not only did that protect their jobs, but one of them began having sex with the supervisor in order to keep from getting fired:
Miles indicated that at one point, Gabriele Robinson began sleeping with their supervisor, Edward Williams. Miles stated she would go to Robinson’s residence and hang out for the day. She stated at the end of the day, Williams signed off as though they had turned in their 20 signatures for that day, giving them their pay. Miles stated that she and Robinson did this at least once a week, and that they received payments for those days when they did not turn in registrations because Robinson was sleeping with Williams.
Miles also advised the agents that the individuals would travel in groups and, if and individual registered a citizen to vote, the other SRDs would tell the citizen, “It doesn’t hurt if you sign this one also.” Thus, multiple SRDs recorded a signature from the same person. Miles stated that they were “all hoodlums” working for ACORN and they all had criminal histories, and that they were going to “do whatever they had to do” to be able to gain their money at the end of the day.
Charming. What a splendid work environment! No wonder James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles found ACORN staffers to be so helpful at promoting prostitution rings.
Update: This comes at the same time that the county DA’s office accuses the police of dragging their feet on these cases:
Milwaukee police officers sat on their hands for months last year instead of investigating possible voter fraud cases from the 2008 general election.
It’s an incredible claim, but it’s coming from a credible source:
Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, the Milwaukee County prosecutor responsible for overseeing campaign and election issues.
“Honestly, the Milwaukee Police Department largely ignored your double voter (and other) referrals received in January 2009 for the first six months of 2009,” Landgraf wrote in an e-mail to a city elections official on Jan. 26.
Speaking with unguarded candor, the veteran prosecutor said in his note that MPD’s tardy response had a major impact. The cases involve voters who may have cast more than one ballot, felons who may have voted illegally and other cases of possible election fraud.
Update II: The people charged this morning were investigated by the Division of Criminal Investigation out of the AG’s office. There have been “a couple” of other indictments for voter fraud from the 2008 investigation, according to the DA’s office, but these are their first indictments involving ACORN. They declined to comment on any further investigations into ACORN, but they also noted that the task force is still in place.
Update III: The AG’s office took another look at their records and found one ACORN-related indictment previous to this one. In all, they have produced 13 indictments thus far.
Update IV: Brad from Brad’s Blog takes me to task — rightly — for some very sloppy writing in my second paragraph. The indictments were not filed against ACORN, but against two of their employees. That’s not the same thing, and I’ve corrected the paragraph to make it more specific and accurate. I apologize for the confusion that caused anyone.
Update V: The crimes related to registrations, not actual voting; I’ve amended that paragraph to show that.