Allahpundit notes that Governor Scott Walker will make no major media appearances today — but that’s because he made his major media appearance yesterday. (We’re major in the Twin Cities. On Saturdays. Trust us.) Seeing as how Walker will spend his day on the campaign trail rather than in a television studio, I’ve clipped out the 10-minute interview from yesterday’s Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast on AM 1280 The Patriot. Mitch Berg and I talked with our neighboring state’s chief exec as he toured Hudson, Wisconsin on a busy campaign day:
In other campaign news, voters have returned a large number of absentee ballot requests, hinting at a presidential-election level of turnout, but could also cause a delay in reporting the results:
More than 182,000 Wisconsin residents have requested absentee ballots or have voted early in a local elections office, according to the latest figures from the Government Accountability Board, the state’s elections watchdog. Those are just the numbers GAB can track.
Elections officials expect the number to top 200,000, nearing a record for a statewide election.
City of Madison elections officials had issued 16,145 absentee ballots by late Friday afternoon, with more than 800 stopping into the city clerks’ office to cast an early ballot on the last day.
Typically, most absentee ballots are cast in a clerk’s office, as many as 75 percent, according to the GAB.
It’s that other 25 percent that could decide the political fate of embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker, his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a lieutenant governor’s race and four state GOP Senate seats.
Absentee ballots, to be valid, must be postmarked by election day. Those ballots will be counted up until the close of the business day next Friday.
If the election is close, as many expect it could be, the straggler votes could turn the outcome.
In 2010, there were 2.132 million votes cast for governor, so this would be close to 10% of that number, and in a special election may well exceed 10% of the final number of votes. I’m not sure who benefits most from absentee balloting. Of late Democrats usually do better in absentee voting, getting union help in organizing that part of the GOTV effort, but Walker raised a huge amount of money and had an organization in the field long before Barrett could start spending money. I’m pretty sure I know who benefits from the requests in Madison, though, and it won’t be Walker.
Barrett may have other problems to deal with today and tomorrow. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel continued its investigation into crime reporting in the city of Milwaukee and the systematic miscoding of crimes that led to an artificial decrease of the violent crime rate under Barrett’s tenure, and it turns out that the city didn’t even code violent assaults on police officers that left them injured as violent crime:
The Milwaukee Police Department misreports aggravated assaults as lesser offenses – sometimes even when its own officers are seriously injured in the line of duty, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.
In March, an on-duty Milwaukee police officer was attacked and suffered injuries that sent him to the hospital for treatment. Police arrested the perpetrator for felony battery, but reported the incident to the state and FBI as a “simple assault,” which will not be counted in the city’s 2012 violent crime rate.
The same thing happened in an earlier case, from March 2011.
In May, a Journal Sentinel investigation found more than 500 serious assaults that were misclassified by the department as lesser offenses from early 2009 through February. The review identified an additional 800 cases that follow the same pattern but couldn’t be verified with available public records. Copies of those incident reports have been sought from police through an open records request.
An analysis of the department’s recently re leased March crime data found more than 30 additional cases that follow the pattern of underreporting. The new misreported assaults also include felony child abuse cases and misdemeanor battery cases in which victims were threatened or injured with dangerous weapons.
Be sure to read the whole report. The MJS found 160 cases of felony child abuse that were underreported as simple assault, for instance, rendering them in the FBI data as non-violent crimes. It’s highly doubtful that the police themselves were making those decisions, and the large scale of the misreporting strongly suggests a concerted effort to reduce the reported violent crime rate in the city.
* – Exclusive? As far as I know, Walker wasn’t on the phone with anyone else during this interview. That seems to be the threshold these days for “exclusives,” so …