Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Is Wisconsin Citizen Audit of Recall Legit? Is This A Publicity Stunt and Cash Cow?

An organization that has rebranded itself "Wisconsin Wave", an offshoot of "Liberty Tree" grabbed a lot of headlines after the June 5th Scott Walker recall when they proclaimed they were going to recount the vote.  Those recall election results don't pass the smell test (more HERE).  A variety of in-state and even at least one major out-of-state election integrity group jumped on board.  In fact, Wisconsin Wave was never the group that was doing the heavy lifting.

Wisconsin Wave is actually Ben Manski.  And from VOICES "You Can't Make This Crap Up" department; Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein and her campaign manager Ben Manski are misrepresenting Ben on the Wisconsin ballot as Jill Stein's choice for Vice President!

Oh sure, Ben....  Its just a technicality...  As you state, a "placeholder."  Its not like the campaign could have competently and honestly identified the folks running for the White House...

Honesty and competence does matter.  More after the jump.

The citizen audit was not actually conducted in a meaningful way nor would they release any finding to VOICE nor, evidently, the rest of the media.  Nothing of value came from the volunteers' efforts nor thousands of dollars collected as donations.

No one involved with the effort can explain why a closed, secret, non-transparent, and unverifiable process is an appropriate way to advocate for open, fair, free, transparent, and verifiable elections.

In fact, one major out-of-state collaborator that donated thousands of dollars and filed many of the open records requests has told VOICES that after providing this help, they were entirely left out in the cold.

Even worse, the group, either accidentally or by design, misled the press by immediately telling the state's media that Rock County's audit verified results (which it may have and note that Walker lost there) yet refused to do anything more than hint at irregularities in other counties without providing official statements, evidence, or even a sensible fully-documented report.  This resulted in Wisconsin's major media prematurely proclaiming that the audit proved "nothing to see here, move along."

VOICES has obtained, from 2 highly credible source (protecting their identify), that the citizen group actually miscounted ballots in different counties-- proving itself to be incapable of doing any audit and actually reinforcing the position held by some -- that America's ballots with multiple races are more complex than in some hand-counted nations.

Perhaps what Wisconsin Wave "proved" was that hand counts are more difficult than most assume -- the net result of Wisconsin Wave's effort, to some, is that their effort proves the needs for machine vote tabulations or some other way to use technology in the process.

But this would undermining everything Wisconsin Wave and a major colaboratorl proclaims they set-out to do.

Having Jill Stein/Green Party's Vice President candidate in charge of a "citizen audit" that failed to fulfill its stated mission in any meaningful way did not help that party's cause, assuming it was ever more than a publicity stunt for certain interests.

The entire charade has actually undermined the efforts of others to secure free, open, fair, verifiable, and transparent elections; because groups acting under the umbrella of "Wisconsin Wave" were not up-to-the-task of doing manual recounts, failed repeatedly to show up for meetings to recount samples of ballots ,and did not show up for some rescheduled appointements; some county supervisors that fully-cooperated with the concept of an audit will not be supportive in the future.  Those that had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the process are certainly not going to be more cooperative after the 2012 experience.

It is not our purpose to call out anyone -- we can all take on challenges and responsibilities that we later find become overwhelming.  The only real failure is when we don't try to make a difference -- kudos to all that stepped forward.

We need to point out that election integrity is at the heart of our democracy -- if groups that proclaim to be watchdogs are not competent to be helpful or may not intend to do any more than grandstand and raise money, then the rest of the election integrity community needs to take notice and discuss how to move forward.

Please let us be clear -- if Jill Stein's campaign manager did not want to cooperate with the only media outlet in Wisconsin that would give her a voice and let her campaign fully-control the message, that is not a problem -- it was their choice.  There is no reason to believe the Green Party could make a difference unless there was an extensive outreach/education  VOICES knows that the Madison office would not acknowledge many repeated personal visits and contacts to promote her campaign.

If the Green Party chooses to put a hometown boy on the ballot instead of their real VP candidate, Wisconsin law lets them do so, but this is entirely misleading and, when you consider the failure of Manski's Wisconsin Wave to responsibly do a citizen's audit and hide this fact in secrecy, it reflects extremely poorly on the Green Party and Jill Stein regardless of what any intentions were.

If, after the election, the Wisconsin Wave or the Green Party wants to start making noise about anything they found in the recall, they will not have any credibility to do so -- especially if the "stand-in" candidate for Vice President and Stein's campaign manager is the guy making all the noise.

Sadly, there is a need for a progressive third party, but the America's Green Party, which is totally disconnected form political groups in other countries that use the same name, year-in and year-out consistently fails to build support between election cycles.  Even if one believes that Jill Stein stands for meaningful change and important ideas, the entire party is undermined by their own campaigns.

If, after the election, Wisconsin Wave rankles about their audit and how it demonstrates Green Party candidates have had votes shaved, they will not have a credible leg to stand on -- disappointing because there are reasons to be concerned with Wisconsin's elections (more HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE).

When self-appointed leaders step up to the plate to address some of the most fundamental issues facing our nation, the stakes are high.  Failure is nothing to be ashamed of if one does the best they can.  We should all support people that step forward and work for ideals and causes we share -- the challenges we face can be difficult.

There is something very wrong with the way the Green Party and Wisconsin Wave have stepped into the limelight in Wisconsin -- meaningful change demands a dialog of what is helpful and what is not.  Wisconsin Wave's citizen audit has not been helpful.  Jill Stein is undermining the Green Party's integrity with a "placeholder" candidate.

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