Building on xoff's excellent post about the massive alleged voter caging operation in Wisconsin involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity of Wisconsin and the major Tea Party coalition in the state, here's few more details about the plot and an update.
According to the statements made on the recordings we acquired, Tim Dake, the widely-recognized leader of the Tea Party coalition in Wisconsin, lays out the plans, detailing contact between himself and Reince Preibus, the Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair and Mark Block, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin:
• The Republican Party of Wisconsin will use its "Voter Vault" state-wide voter file to compile a list of minority and student voters in targeted Wisconsin communities.
• Americans for Prosperity will use this list to send mail to these voters indicating the voter must call and confirm their registration information, and telling them if they do not call the number provided they could be removed from the voter lists.
• The Tea Party organizations will recruit and place individuals as official poll workers in selected municipalities in order to be able to make the challenges as official poll workers.
• On Election Day, these organizations will then "make use" of any postcards that are returned as undeliverable to challenge voters at the polls, utilizing law enforcement, as well as attorneys trained and provided by the RPW, to support their challenges.
Dake verified today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the recording is of him, and admitted not only that the plot existed, but that the first round of letters have already been sent to 500 voters in Milwaukee County. Of course, it's just a coincidence that Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America.
And of course the lies have already started. AFP's Block first claimed in the same Journal Sentinel story that American's for Prosperity were "absolutely unequivocally" not involved in the planning of the caging operation. When confronted with the inconsistencies between his and Dake's story, Block backtracked and said he had indeed had contacts with Dake and others about the caging and that AFP paid for the voter names and the mailing.
We are, of course, quite interested in getting a copy of the mailer, if anyone happens to get their hands on it.
Also, several readers have asked why this caging operation is a big deal in Wisconsin -- yes, Wisconsin does have same-day registration, but if executed, the caging operation would most certainly be effective.
First, you cannot just show up at the polls to register on Election Day. You must have proof of current residence, and not just a copy of Newsweek or whatever your reading, but an ID with a current address -- not a guarantee. My ID's good for ten years, I've moved a lot in the last ten years. A utility bill, a copy of your lease or a paycheck also work. If you think you are registered, chances are, you're not carrying those things around.
Then you wait in line on Election Day for 30 minutes, an hour, and some Tea Partier challenges your registration. Now you've gotta run home, hope you didn't throw out your last utility bill and head back to the polls, wait in line for another 15, 30 minutes, an hour, 2, who knows?? and then finally cast your ballot. Clearly, this situation becomes troublesome quickly.
Secondly, by challenging voter after voter, GOPers/AFP/Tea Partiers will create even LONGER lines at the polls as poll workers have to explain to all these folks why they need to go home and come back before they can vote. And surely there will be misunderstandings, mass confusion and frustration with the process as challenges continue to roll in. Voters WILL get discouraged and leave. We saw this in Ohio in 2004 -- people can't just wait endlessly to vote! Everyone has limits, jobs to get back to, babysitters to pay etc. And of course, metropolitan precincts are often where these problems arise.
Discounting the threat to our most basic civil right this alleged plot presents is a serious mistake.
For more information about the plot, including the full audio and transcript of the meeting detailing the plot, documents we've obtained and more, check out http://www.savewisconsinsvote2010.org
UPDATE: Here's a copy of the infographic we put together that lays out the plot