Exit Polling Nixed in Middle of Wisconsin Election

From BradBlog: Wisconsin ‘Government Accountability Board’ Shuts Down Recall Election Exit Polling – Says nonpartisan polling ‘electioneering’ because candidates’ names appear on exit poll ‘ballot’ <read>

According to a press release (see below) issued yesterday by EDA, despite local volunteer pollsters being equipped with copies of GAB regulations and a letter from the head of GAB outlining permission for exit polling, the rules were apparently changed during the day and pollsters forbidden to hand out the exit polling ‘ballot’ voters were asked to complete anonymously.

EDA National Chairperson Sally Castleman told The BRAD BLOG, “The numerous red flags that came to light in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election this spring alerted many Wisconsinites to the need for citizen oversight in their elections. With official vote counts being conducted secretly inside computers, exit polling is one of the very, very few mechanisms left to the public for assessing the legitimacy of official outcomes.” Castleman added, “We need to see this level of public participation all over the nation in order to halt the privatization of our elections.”

From the press release:

Despite having the GAB Regulations (§§5.35 (5), 7.37 (2) ) in hand plus a letter from Kevin Kennedy, head of the GAB, both clearly allowing exit polling, the GAB today through GAB member David Buerger, has said that the group is “electioneering” because candidates names appear on the polling “ballot.” He further dictated that no voter would be allowed to touch an exit poll ballot, that pollsters can only verbally ask the voters their responses. This despite the fact that Edison-Mitofsky, the polling company commissioned by the Media Consortium to conduct Exit Polling nationally over the last many years, uses written polling ballots that the voters fill in themselves.

The polls were being run by concerned Wisconsin citizens volunteering under the guidance of Election Defense Alliance and Protect California Ballots, two non-partisan organizations with the mission of restoring transparency to our elections. Both organizations have run non-partisan exit polls many times in the past in close to a dozen states. Neither group has ever been harassed in such a way before.

“This is reasoning beyond specious”, said Jonathan Simon, Director of Election Defense Alliance. “Exit polling in this country has been going on for decades. To call it ‘electioneering’ simply because candidates names appear on the poll ballot, when all names appear without any advocacy involved, is absurd. This is concealment in OUR elections. Public participation is being forbidden!”

And from the press release, related charges we have not seen elsewhere which require more detail for verification:

Despite the fact that the law says a photo ID is requested but not required for this election, reports have been received from Glendale that voters are not being allowed to vote without photo ID.

In another related story, robo-calls, reportedly coming from Virginia, are being made to Democrats throughout the primary districts today telling them not to vote today because an absentee ballot is in the mail.

Update: Here is another story on those robo calls: <read>

The phone calls, which were traced to a tele­mar­ket­ing com­pany in Vir­ginia, car­ried the fol­low­ing mes­sage from Wis­con­sin Right to Life exec­u­tive direc­tor Bar­bara Lyons:

Hello, this is Bar­bara Lyons from Wis­con­sin Right to Life. I’m call­ing today to let you know that you will be receiv­ing an absen­tee bal­lot appli­ca­tion for the upcom­ing recall elec­tions in the mail in the next few days. These recall elec­tions are very impor­tant and vot­ing absen­tee will ensure that your vote is counted and that we can main­tain a pro-family, pro-life state Sen­ate. We hope that we can count on you to com­plete that appli­ca­tion and send it back to us within seven days. Thank you for your sup­port. Wis­con­sin Right to Life can be reached by call­ing 877–855-5007.

…“Wis­con­sin Right to Life con­demns blog­gers who are falsely and viciously report­ing that Wis­con­sin Right to Life is mak­ing calls telling peo­ple not to vote today. That is com­pletely untrue,” Lyons said . “Wis­con­sin Right to Life has not ever and is not now mak­ing phone calls to sup­press votes.”

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