Wisconsin Democratic voters targeted with Koch-funded absentee ballot notices advising them to vote 2 days after the recall election

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity group has been reportedly distributing fliers in Democrat-leaning Wisconsin districts advising voters to send in their recall absentee ballots "before August 11." The recall election -- in which Democrats are seeking to unseat state Republicans who voted for Governor Scott Walker's attack on unionized labor -- is being held two days earlier, on August 9. AFP has also given $150,000 worth of ad time to Republican candidates facing recall.
A Democrat on the ground in Wisconsin said the fliers were discovered to be hitting doors in District 2 and District 10 over the weekend.

"These are people who are our 1's in the voterfile who we already knew. They ain't AFP members, that's for damn sure," the source said.

One flier was discovered in Hudson, Wisc. where Democrat Shelly Moore is attempting to upend GOP State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf in District 10; the other was found in Kaukauna, where Democrat Nancy Nusbaum is challenging Sen. Robert Cowles in District 2.

AFP Wisconsin ballots have late return date (via Reddit)


  1. For some reason, they keep forgetting that people go to jail for doing things like this. They get blatant in their dirty tricks, yet scream bloody murder about non-existent “voter fraud” as if those dirty college students and retirees were ballot stuffers.

    They are scared, they can tell that people don’t like them, and it scares them. That’s why the Koch brothers are so secretive, as they know inside that they are scum, and shield themselves as much as possible from reality.

    1. Dirty politicians go to jail?  I guess there might be an example or two, but I don’t believe it’s a very common occurrence.  Which is exactly what they’re banking on.

      1. It’s not the politicians, but often their flunkies, the chiefs of staff and their campaign managers that get thrown under the bus. For example, the phone jamming scandal in New Hampshire got the state GOP head convicted with a one year sentence. 

        So in a way, you are right, and sometimes the henchmen can be convinced that they need not worry – once elected, his boss will pull strings to get him a pardon should he get caught.

  2. God Bless America, land of the free (if you’re obscenely rich), where democracy is the law of the land (if you’re obscenely rich). Home of unlimited opportunity (if you’re obscenely rich).

    Pay no attention to the boisterous complaints from the rabble. That’s just the working classes. Don’t worry, a new season of American Idol will start up soon and we’ll be able to conduct our affairs in peace.

  3. People don’t go to jail for typos, which is what this will be called. Conflicting witnesses will say it was planned / it was a typo, DA won’t take the case and some dem voters get fucked. EVERYONE ENDS UP HAPPY. 

    This is how the world works. 

    1. It’s a criminally irresponsible typo. If I was the beak before whom this case was brought, I’d be questioning everybody who had responsibility for this ‘typo’, about whether they were aware of the actual date, did they check the copy, what procedures were in place to check and correct the item. And then I’d fine the organization for sloppy prodecures, and the guy who typed it and his manager, and his manager, and so on. Any place I’ve worked, if I made a mistake that potentially criminally heinous, I’d’ve been out on my ear.

  4. Wasn’t there a thing not too long ago where a campaign was calling citizens telling them they had enough votes and not to bother going to the polls?

    1. yes, a “right to life” group was calling wisconsin democrats in july, the day before the primary telling them to vote absentee instead of going into the elections. link: http://www.bluecheddar.net/?p=10878.
      later they claimed they meant the general elections later on, not the election that was happening the very next day. another link: http://wivoices.areavoices.com/2011/07/12/robocall-election-fraud-in-district-10/
      who is sending out these absentee ballots, and why don’t they just come from a neutral source? i don’t get it.

  5. This is right out of the Karl Rove book of dirty tricks. He also sent out notices to African-American neighborhoods telling people to come to the polls (one day after the vote) and there would be free fried chicken and watermelon, betraying his racism as well as his total lack of ethics. Despite the fact that he printed this notice on letterhead stolen from a Democratic office, he never went to jail. When questioned about it now, he laughs and says it was just a college prank. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of his blatantly illegal activities. How he is not in jail is one of the greatest miracles of our age. Oh, wait, he’s obscenely rich? Then he can do whatever he wants, he’s one of the people who OWNS this country, and all of us by extension. 

    1. Check your facts – the racist elements of your story are false.  From the Karl Rove wiki…
      “In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Treasurer of Illinois.
      He stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead, printed fake
      campaign rally fliers promising “free beer, free food, girls and a good
      time for nothing”, and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon’s rally.”

  6. I’m in District 10 and you wouldn’t believe the amount of garbage I’ve received from the Americans for Prosperity group.  The irony is that Senator Harsdorf keeps talking  about the “outside interests” attempting to unseat her, not being able to comprehend the fact that thousands of signatures were gathered by everyday folk in her district who are sick of her shit.

  7. They are afraid. They know that we have the highest law of the land on our side if we want the whole lot of ’em, no matter which party they are part of, and it is a law that is unrevokable. Naturally none of ’em want to realize the constitution gives us that sort of power ye at the same time they push and push untill all reasonable methods fail.

    Why? Why must people in power, and all those we might choose from to fill the vaccume, be selfish lying greedy Turnips? I’d say Go Anarchy if I knew how to make it work o na large scale without it just resulting in somebody stepping in that would be even more abusive but better able to puppet the masses around.

    1. “Why must people in power, and all those we might choose from to fill the vaccume, be selfish lying greedy Turnips?”
      1. The promise of power (in office) attracts those who desire power, which is hardly a test for good intentions and ideas.
      2. Those who tell the truth are rarely praised for it. Liars are more pleasing to the ear.
      3. Election requires money, and money flows from those whom the law favors economically
      4. Legislatures here have utterly given up on trying to do what is right or best for the public, and seek primarily political points to further their careers. Debates are not in good faith, and official spout views they often do not, themselves, believe- or at least, they wouldn’t like being subjected to the kind of society those beliefs lead to. In that case, why would anyone who actually wanted to help people try to win office as a way to achieve that goal?

      So, almost no one who actually deserves to hold office is likely to get elected.

  8. For those asking, I am quite certain this is illegal. It’s pretty similar to a current case in MD where aides of Republican candidate Erlich robocalled voters in Democratic districts telling them that Democratic candidate O’Malley had already won, so they should just stay home and relax.

  9. Devil’s advocate: could someone explain how sending these mailers out ultimately achieves Americans for Prosperity’s ends? If 1,000 recipients register right away and 400 wait until it’s too late, that’s still 600 Dem voters who registered who otherwise wouldn’t have.

    You’ll note that elsewhere in the mailer it says the absentee registration must be received “the Thursday before election day”, i.e., this Thursday.

    Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence or, perhaps in this case, malicious incompetence.

    1. Wrong. It’s not a valid form. Cross posting this from someone else’s comment on another site: 

      This is worse than just a late return date.
      Actually, the mailings are intended to look like absentee ballot request forms. The AFP mailer (http://www.politico.com/static/PPM187_ballotapp.html ) is not the official form (http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/gab_forms/4/gab_121_application_for_absentee_ballot_revised_06_10125.pdf ) required to get an absentee ballot. If you read the mailer, you can actually see that it states that it is not the form used by the GAB (4th page of the linked document.) This is after it incorrectly states that it is an official document in large letters on the bottom of the 3rd page.
      The latest an absentee ballot request can be submitted in Wisconsin via mailing is the Thursday before the election. This is the date that the request must be received. As the election is next Tuesday, that makes the due date for any ballot requests this Thursday. As these districts are far away from Madison (Northwest & Green Bay areas, respectively) it would take more than 2+ days for them to get to Madison, and 2+ days for them to get back. As such, it would be impossible for these notices to get filed in accordance with the law, even if they were legal.
      Source on Absentee Voting Information:

      It also appears that the mailing address (PO Box 1327 • Madison WI 53701-1327) on these envelopes goes to a group calling itself Wisconsin Family Action (http://www.wifamilyaction.org/files/trya.campaigntoolbox.org/downloads/WFAPAC_PR_070711.pdf ). Wisconsin Family Action is an anti-gay conservative group which has attempted to break up the state’s domestic partnership registry and prevent other advances in LGBT rights in Wisconsin over the last several years. They are not a recognized part of the Wisconsin government and would not be legally able to hand out absentee ballots, even if it were possible timeline-wise for them to do so.

      1. This is the date that the request must be received.   Do you mean “post marked”?

    2. If you look at the actual document, you’ll see it says in big bold letters Official Application For Absentee Ballot,  but then in small writing at the bottom says it is not an offcial wisconsin application.  http://www.politico.com/static/PPM187_ballotapp.html

      Seems odd to me.

  10. Two observations:
    1) The GOP controls the governor’s office, which has the power to pardon.
    2) The GOP controls the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
    In practice, the Wisconsin GOP no longer has reason to fear the law, since it means only what the GOP says it means.  To make things even easier for them, they also control both houses of the legislature, so there’s no remedy in that direction.

  11. I would love to see a campaign add that focused specifically on this issue, something along the lines of “Harsdorf and Cowels are terrified” or “We’ve got them on the run”. Just hit them with their cowardice over and over until they come out, repudiate these fliers, and encourage EVERYONE to vote on the correct date.

  12. The mailer is OK due to a technicality – it says BEFORE August 11th (ie: the 9th).  If it said “By August 11th” then it would be misleading.  And in a pinch they can always claim it’s a misprint. 

  13. The Republicans have also been pushing laws to “reduce voter fraud” by requiring government photo id to vote, and just passed that in Wisconsin.  Meanwhile, they’re cutting back on the number of Motor Vehicle Department offices in many counties, making it harder to get a photo id if you don’t have one, which is more likely to affect poor people, old people, young people, and geographic areas that are more likely to vote Democrat.

    They’re really running a full-court press on making sure they get re-elected, by any means necessary.

    1. The reason to suppress the Democratic voters is; it is easier to manipulate a close election than it is a clear majority.  We have seen that a single district can flip an election when the election officials have a preference for the outcome.  It is much harder to ‘find’ enough ballots to shift an election by 5% than it is to ‘find’ a few thousand ballots that amount to less than 1%.

  14. Am I mistaken, or does it seem that Republicans do this sort of thing regularly? And why do they get away with it? And why, when I tell my Republican friends and family about this happening, do they refuse to believe me, and when I show them actual evidence, they believe it is a lie? And why, when  the evidence is incontrovertible, do they conveniently forget about it and/or change the subject? 

    1. When I mention things like this to my father, he just stops talking.  He doesn’t leave the room, he just starts doing other things or starts talking to the dog.

    2. The Repubs have been doing this for a long long time. Remember Watergate? The people who were caught had the job of playing dirty “tricks” on McGovern’s campaign. These people (Repubicans, mispelling intended) really believe in the concepts of “winner take all” and “the ends justify the means”.

  15. It is obviously unethical and despicable, but I don’t know what law they are violating.  Does someone have an idea of a law which might be used to prosecute this?

    1. The problem with election law is that by the time the investigation and court proceedings happen, the ‘elected’ official is running for RE election.  Stealing an election does not matter when the consequences are so far in the future AND when a subordinate can take the fall or just obstruct, Scooter Libby style.

      1. Treason has a constitutionally limited definition, specifically “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”  This was intentional, since there is a great danger in being able to arrest your political opponents on the charge of treason, whenever they were acting (in your view) in a manner contrary to the state.  

        1. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure there have been several (mostly recent, probably) cases that have held that a citizen can be considered an enemy.  There are ways to make war that are not directly violent.  Aiding those acts of war would be treason, in my view. 

      2. Yeah, right? TREASON!

        And I await assault charges and jail time for Prosser for throttling that other judge! Grrr, that POS! /ranty

  16. I’ve been seeing the ads for the Moore-Harsdorf race here in Minneapolis because Hudson Wisconsin is right across the border. The Koch-funded ads are atrocious. The Attack ads against Moore are using a bad voice imitation of Morgan Freeman to lend credibility and the pro-Harsdorf ad shows Harsdorf whinging about lies and that she deserves to win because “it’s hard to be a Mom”.

    For some real good background info on the Koch bros and what’s going on in Madison from the front line, check out the podcast “Tank Riot”.

  17. The reason they get away with lying and fooling people is that voters do nothing about it. Voters either believe the GOP propaganda and believe it is noble, even patriotic to lie in service of your principles or they are voters who simply don’t bother to really know anything about their governance. Voters should be roundly rejecting any party that hates democracy so much that they trick voters to win -instead voters cower, fearful that gay-married atheists will take their guns away. It would be funny if it were not so tragic.

    The equivocating in the timid media makes it seem that “all” parties do this crap when the GOP has made lies and misdirection standard practice. I fear for the viability of American democracy when people are so easily fooled by such obvious charlatans.

  18. This is treasonous. When are we gonna start hanging people for this?  If your politics are so evil you have to resort to this crap, well, then- you don’t deserve to play.

  19. In Maryland they’re getting ready to send our old Republican Governors chief off staff to jail for robocalls with the same incorrect information. Maybe the Koch bro.’s will share a cell. Ironic to me that these two seuccessful men feel the need to cheat in order to win. They must be proud to be criminal. Makes you wonder who else they’re screwing over.



  21. I much prefer it when a political party buses in homeless people, non-citizens and out of district people to vote, and when they pay people to vote for them (oh….they pay them in food and services, but a payment IS a payment, and illegal).  Oh, that’s right, I agree with the policies of said political party….so that makes it okay, right?  

    I’m disgusted by all of these shenanigans, but even more disgusted by the fact that people conveniently forget that both sides take part in this craptacular chicanery.  

    1. “Oh, they all do it.” is a pretty crappy take on an obvious bullshit ploy by Koch and his minions. And, it is obvious you haven’t voted in a while if you think that kind of crap is the norm.

  22. As suspicious as it may seem, at this point the only provable offense, if I am not mistaken,  is the offense of not proofreading their distibuted materials. It LOOKS like foul play but is not provable foul play.

    I am curious though, who actually distributed these fliers and what organization they represented? If it was the AFP then I would think it would be provable misconduct and worthy of some level of legal warning. After all, no one hands out free promotions for the other side undermining their own cause, so if that’s the case, I think foul play is pretty clear,

  23. Apart from Wisconsin Family Action, it was also circulated from the Wisconsin Right to Life web site as well as another at Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators Inc.  So what do these groups have in common with AFP?

  24. This is far from the first time this has happened too. Although the first mention of this is actually an article by The Onion in 2004: Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3 http://www.theonion.com/articles/republicans-urge-minorities-to-get-out-and-vote-on,1241/
    copy cats started doing this for real that very same election: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12514-2004Oct30.html

    Then it came back in 2008:
    Phony Election Flier In Virginia Tells Democrats To Vote On Nov. 5 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/27/phony-election-flier-in-v_n_138382.html

    Anonymous Call Tells Pennsylvania Dems To Vote Wednesday http://goo.gl/Cl7d6

    and kept going in 2010:
    L.A. Latinos Told to Vote on Nov. 3; Watchdogs Cite Trouble Nationally http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/11/los_angeles_latino_voters_told_to_vote_on_november_3.html

    GOP-Linked ‘Latinos For Reform’ Airs Nevada Ads Urging Hispanics Not To Vote (VIDEO) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/19/latinos-for-reform-vote-nevada_n_767991.html

    In Woodland Park, Colorado, a town north of Colorado Springs, someone had posted a sign saying that Democrats vote on Wednesday. Election protection notified officials, and the sign has now been taken down. http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/78853/some-students-are-having-trouble-voting

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