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, September 07, 2007

WI SEB Complaint Filed Regarding Donating of November 2, 2004 Election Records

On August 29, 2007 I filed a complaint with the Wisconsin State Elections Board against Sharon Robinson, Interim Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission and the three Milwaukee Election Commissioners at the time: Allen E. Campos, Victoria Toliver, and Edward Schultz.

You can read the complaint, my affidavit, and the supporting exhibits.

The summary of the complaint is that contrary to popular myth, the November 2, 2004 election records were NOT confiscated by the Joint Task Force between the US Attorney of Eastern Wisconsin and the Milwaukee County District Attorney. Contrary to Wisconsin State Election law (WI Stats. 7.24)the records were transfered voluntarily by the City of Milwaukee Election Commission to the joint task force.

The state law requires the Election Commission to do the same thing as a private citizen with a fiduciary to retain the records must do when when a DA or US attorney demands to search or seize records. Both the citizen and the commission are required to answer: "Yes, you may have the records as soon as you show me a warrant signed by a judge." The Election Commission violated state election law by not demanding such a warrant or judicial order.

Aside from this significant statutory violation, there is a far more obnoxious aspect to this voluntary donation of records.

For two and a half years the City Election Commission has denied public access to the November 2, 2004 election records based on the claim that the election records were confiscated by the Joint Task Force and thus out of the control of the Election Commission.

This was untrue.

Since the transfer from the Commission to the Joint task force was voluntary, the Election Commission could have demand access to the records at any time in order to make the copies requested by the public over the course of the last 27 months. The attorney who was copied on all of these false claims was Melanie Swank, Assistant Attorney for the City of Milwaukee. Ms. Swank has literally written the book on public records law. It is entitled: Wisconsin Public Records & Open Meetings Handbook. You would think the author of such a book would give her client, the Milwaukee Election Commission, better legal advice. But that is for her clients, city supervisors, and the Wisconsin Bar Association to sort out.

This donation of records by the City Election Commission with the Commission then claiming the public may not access the records could be a criminal violation of Wisconsin State Open Records law, but that is a decision for the Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, to make.


Blogger Maverick said...

Great posting John! It was selected to be included in last week's Carnival of Open Records.
Thanks, Sara

Tue Sep 18, 11:48:00 AM CDT  

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