cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Reid Magny, Public Information Officer for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board read my last blog (GAB is a Farce) and sent an e-mail that began, “Your column contains so many inaccuracies I don’t know where to start.” Needless to say, I was taken aback both by that lead line and the need he saw to respond. He did point out that my reference to the GAB being “created by the Doyle Administration when the Democrats controlled both houses” was inaccurate. His e-mail advised me that “2007 Act 1, which created the G.A.B., became law when [R]epublicans controlled the Assembly and [D]emocrats controlled the Senate. It passed the Senate 33-0 and the Assembly 97-2.”
That establishes that Republicans can, and do, vote yes on some things they shouldn’t have voted yes on. The Republicans were “gamed” by Gov. Doyle who followed this approval by his appointments to that newly created board, and they should’ve known better. Mr. Magny also said that the target of the recall effort is able to request an extension to the ten day limit currently in the law which I did not mention in the blog piece.
Beyond this, he made statements about the G.A.B. that are factual but that missed my general thrust that it doesn’t really give us much upon which to rely so far as duplicate signatures on thousands of pages of signed petitions since he did acknowledge that the G.A.B. does not compile a searchable data file. Without that there is absolutely no guarantee that repeated signers will ever be flushed out.
The morning that I read his e-mail, Friday, December 2nd, there appeared an article in the Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact Wisconsin series that quoted Mr. Magny. This article was the result of PolitiFact Wisconsin verifying that the claim by One Wisconsin Now that people could sign recall petitions even if they have already signed another recall petition. This article points out that duplicate signatures are not illegal by virtue of Section 9.10 of the Act. If those duplicates are not detected, each will count since the law also states that a signature is “presumed to be valid”. My earlier point was that the lack of a searchable database of signatures is tantamount to facilitating illegal signatures.
Mr. Magny was quoted in this article as saying, “People should not sign a petition more than once unless they have some good-faith reason to believe that the first petition was somehow fraudulent and believes the circulator didn’t intend to file it.”
Pardon my cynical nature, but doesn’t that provide the very methodology that anyone wishing to defraud this process can use in his or her defense IF ever called to task?
I reiterate that our reliance on the G.A.B. process, even though it sounds reasonable, is farcical since there are no real roadblocks to fraudulent signatures unless they appear on the same page. Multiple people are reviewing multiple pages and only the ‘Donald Duck’ and ‘Mickey Mouse’ signatures are ever likely to be caught. Without a searchable database, there is no real likelihood that any duplicates will ever be found, and yet people have been tacitly encouraged to sign more than once “if they have some reason to believe the other signature might not have been turned in”. Give me, and the people of our state, a break! While the Republicans control the Governorship and both Houses, please pass some better legislation covering this activity; it seems that recalls have now become something of a standard process, so put some real teeth in place like a searchable database.