Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Friday, April 08, 2005

On to the county canvass

Last month Kevin Kennedy was quoted as: "..there is nothing the voters can do now [about the November 2, 2005 election]"

He is correct. Correcting errors caused by bad procedures (my pet peeve) is hard to correct 4 months after the fact. But, spring elections are here. The canvassing processes in 7.51, 7.53, 7.60, and 7.70 is upon us. Those statutes are desigend to obviate errors and prevent the propagation of those errors upwards. To that end. here is the first page of the letter I delivered to Janice Dunn of the Milwaukee County Election Commission. I was shocked she recognized my name. Apparently, my name came up in discussions yesterday and this morning between her and Kevin Kennedy. I hope that is a good thing.

Janice Dunn , Clerk of Milwaukee County
Office Address: Courthouse
901 N. 9th Street, RM G-3
Milwaukee, WI 53233-1458

Dear Ms. Dunn:

I have been trying to schedule time with the City of Milwaukee Election in order to compare the poll lists, machine tape totals and inspectors’ reports (form EB-104). The City Election Commission informed me Wednesday that the machine tapes are with your office as part of the county canvass under WI statutes 7.60.

I called this morning to see when I could schedule my inspection. I was told sometime after next Friday, April 15, 2005. The nice lady on the phone informed me that your office is checking and double checking the paperwork and records provided by the City of Milwaukee.

Since, this has been my interest for the 5 prior elections, I asked about city wards were the number of ballots cast exceeds the number of electors voting. I asked if any such wards are found, will those wards have the excess ballots removed and the ward canvassed properly as required by state law? The clerk informed me this is not state law to do this.

I am writing you to inform your office that this is incorrect. Please check with the state election board on this at 608-266-8005 or fax them at 608-267-0500. Feel free to include this letter in any communication with the state elections board.

The canvassing procedures to be conducted by election inspectors at the polling location are laid out in detail in WI state statutes 7.51 as modified by 5.77 and 5.85. In each of the last 5 elections (spring primary 2004 through spring primary 2005) the election inspectors of the City of Milwaukee have failed to perform proper local board canvasses in many polling places. Depending on the election, the wards with improper local canvasses have been most wards or a sizable minority or wards within the city.

I would petition you as Clerk of Milwaukee County to use your authority under 7.60(4)(c) carefully examine any material sent to you by the City of Milwaukee Election Commission. I would also urge you to use your authority under 7.60(4)(c) to designate as uncanvassed any ward which failed to conduct a proper local board canvass. I would urge you to use your authority to keep such wards designated as uncanvassed until the City of Milwaukee has had conducted local board canvasses to which your office is willing certify under 7.60(5).

Page 2 is really wonkish stuff on election statutes. And, yes, I know I got the title wrong. But it is the typo on the letter I deliverd.

Over lunch I wrote the above and delivered it to room G-3. Ms. Dunn was in. So, the leter was hand delivered. She seemed dubious that a status of uncanvassed was allowed. But, she was curteous and we even discussed damnable touch screens. I gave the heads up on wards 188 and 189.

The county is split 3 or 4 people for everything which is not the City of Milwaukee and a room full of county and city elections officials working on the City. Ms. Dunn's stated goal is let the City "smooth" out the irrgularities found. I infer some have been found. But, Ms. Dunn declined to say what or how many.

I actually think the City canvass is being checked in some detail. This is a good thing even if the operating assumption is incompetence and not fraud.


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