Thursday, December 15, 2011

Show them

Just as I was worried about the difficulties inherent in validating hundreds of thousands recall signatures, Mike Tate and the Democratic Party unwittingly offer a solution.

Mr. Tate claims to have 507,000 signatures. Good work. Let's start to vet them.

If these signatures are almost all valid. If there is nothing to see here, then why not make them available to the public? Given the GAB's self expressed inability to actually validate the signatures and the recall organizers disavowal of any intention to do so, let's start making copies and get to work.

I don't expect that to happen but what could the justification be for failing to do so. I can think of one. Limit the time available for the opposition, media and regulators to do their due diligence.

I can't think of another. I know we'll hear that the Democrats don't want others raising "frivolous" challenges but we can't know that they are frivolous until we see what they are. That someone may make bad challenges to signatures does not justify failing to produce them or allowing adequate time to make sure that they are valid.

I know we'll hear assertions that the signatures are valid. All the more reason to disclose them.

So let the media and recall opponents get to work.

Or explain why you won't.

23 comments:

John Foust said...

Those darn state laws! They've always got a bias against Republicans. Why can't Tate do what the WisGOP wants him to do, as opposed to what he is legally required to do?

Rick Esenberg said...

Why? In order to respond to public concerns regarding the validity of signatures. To make sure that there is no doubt that an extraordinary event - a statewide recall election - is proceeding according to law. To, quite frankly, silence those critics who might always be able to say that the recall is under a cloud because there was not sufficient time to test the validity of the petitions. To bring sunshine into the process. To dispel even the hint of impropriety.

All of that says he should do it. What besides partisan advantage says that he should not?

Of course, we know that he doesn't have to. But that that you can do something (keep the petitions to yourself) doesn't mean that you should.

Mazo Jeff said...

I question whether they will have enough. My thinking is this. If the got 300k signatures in the 1st 2 weeks and $207k in the following 2 weeks, that is most of the low hanging fruit (literally and figuratively). So if the are able to get only 100k more in 30 days, that would be a total of 600k. Therefore there better not be more than 10% bogus signatures or they may not have enough. And besides, if they just squeak by, how do you think that will stand outside of Dane and Milwaukee Counties. Try and explain Kathleen Falk to the Fox Valley

John Foust said...

Public concerns regarding the validity of signatures you haven't seen yet. Got it. Would you like a side of leprechauns with that?

You will be able to see the signatures, after they've been turned over, and after the GAB releases them. You want to disrupt the present legal process for what? For a whim, for your overactive imagination. You sincerely hypothesized that 5,000 people would sign an average of 25 times.

In my reality-based world, it's difficult to get 5,000 people to do anything correctly once, much less 25 times. People will bend over to pick up a penny, but tell me what happens if you offer them a dollar to do a hundred knee-bends.

Rick Esenberg said...

Why would it disrupt a legal process to allow access to petitions that are completed? There are public concerns for the reasons that I and others have written about There are public concerns that are inherent in the nature of the thing. If that's the best that can be done on behalf of the proposition that the petitions be kept private for now, the Dems are in for a public relations fiasco.

Unknown said...

I think we Wisconsin conservatives are more savvy and we will find a way to validate the petitions using pattern recognition software.

This obviously didn't get a lot of publicity, but the Ohio petitions for the referendum against their union reforms were THIRTY PERCENT fraudulent. Staggering!!!

------------------------
Of the more than 1.3 million signatures submitted by supporters, the secretary of state's office certified 915,456 for an approximately 70.5% validation rate.

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Ohio_Senate_Bill_5_Veto_Referendum,_Issue_2_%282011%29#Signature_verification

Unknown said...

We already know that there are fraudulent signatures. Vicki McKenna's signature was found on one. I think she should make a criminal complaint so the GAB actually pursues the felonious petition gatherer.

http://www.wisconsinreporter.com/vickis-petition-name-game-hits-recall-drive

John Foust said...

In short, you think the WisGOP should get a head-start in the race to challenge signatures because there will be so many to examine.

The recall petitioners are following the rules. Do you think they should've received a head-start in gathering signatures, because there were so many to gather?

It's not about protecting the signature sheets from examination. As the intent is to file them with the government, I doubt anyone involved in the process thought they were anything but public documents. Your deep concerns, sprung from the imagination of WTMJ and the WisGOP and its pseudo-journalism outfits, will be salved when the documents are handed out to the public.

(Whatever happened to that story about under-age cigs-for-sigs? That's where their concerns were a week or two ago.)

Of course there will be signatures to challenge, and of course there will be duplicates, and no one believes that anyone's voice should count more than once. That's the process we have. You can wish for a head-start, but it wouldn't be fair to give it to one side when it's not given to the other.

Who is more likely to sign as "Mickey Mouse"? Someone who wants to recall Walker? Or someone who wants to throw a wrench in the process? If Adolf Hitler signs, I bet that person is a Walker fan. And yet you're revved up to show that a few "Mickey Mouse" signatures are proof of malfeasance by the recall supporters.

Are these documents exempt from normal public records duplication charges? Will they be released to the public at the highest per-page rate ever foisted by an office run by Walker? Should the GAB spend extraordinary amounts to deliver these documents to the challengers in online formats? Surely duplicating them on paper would create more jobs and consume more resources produced by Wisconsin companies, which would be good for the economy, right?

Anonymous said...

John you are a silly man!!! Kinda sad really.these petitioners are encouraging multiple signatures,and have made a complete circus out of this.It is totally backfiring on the dems,The majority is pissed,and yes we are the majority!! oh that is rite you do not care about majority if it doesn't help you.

Tom said...

The Democrats could show some serious integrity and win a lot of good will by (a) putting the ballots up now and let the cloud vet them; (b) promising to vet them themselves before turning them in (some small groups of circulators have stated they will do this, the Democrats should pledge a greater effort); and (c) actually do the vetting and show what they've done.

The only reason I can think of why they won't is they're actually afraid they won't be able to get enough valid signatures. If they're certain they have enough, they could reap great reward at little risk by doing this so well the Republicans only find a few hundred to strike.

Although I do have a question - is it even actually possible or legal to strike a signature before you submit it? I don't really know. The circulator has to sign a statement that says the circulator knows a whole lot about the veracity of the signatures, but what is a circulator supposed to do if she suspects or even knows one is fraudulent? Can she scratch it out? Does she have to forebear turning the whole page in because she knows one signature is bad? The instructions on the petition form don't explain.

Tom said...

"Who is more likely to sign as "Mickey Mouse"? Someone who wants to recall Walker? Or someone who wants to throw a wrench in the process? If Adolf Hitler signs, I bet that person is a Walker fan. And yet you're revved up to show that a few "Mickey Mouse" signatures are proof of malfeasance by the recall supporters."

I'd take that bet. But regardless, frankly I couldn't care less who signed it - the important thing is it needs to be removed.

John Foust said...

Let's see. The GAB, United Wisconsin, and the DPW have affirmed that obviously fake signatures should be struck. No one is suggesting that anyone should sign multiple times. Petition circulators open themselves to a felony. So where's the beef?

From the GAB site: "Wisconsin’s recall petition process is designed with multiple checks and balances provided by the non-partisan G.A.B., as well as the competing partisan interests of the recall committee and the incumbent officeholder. These competing interests ensure that ineligible signers, duplicate signatures and fake names get weeded out. Focusing on any one aspect of the process in isolation misses the forest for a few trees. The recall process starts at the grassroots level with petition circulators. They personally obtain each signature on the page and are responsible for striking any signature that does not match the name given to them by the person signing the petition. These circulators sign each petition page stating that they understand that falsifying the certification is a punishable offense under state law, which is a felony. [...] In reviewing approximately 215,000 signatures as part of the 2011 recalls, only a handful of signatures were successfully challenged on the basis that the name was fictitious or of a deceased individual." And there's more there.

We have the evidence of the results of the 2011 recalls. After competitive vetting, "only a handful" out of 215,000 signatures were discarded. Yet we're supposed to believe there is now fraud on a massive scale so unusual that the recall petitioners should bend the rules so the GOP can have more time to challenge signatures.

Tom said...

Again, so why don't they do it? Why not "Hey, we're so sure we have enough valid signatures, we'll let you start looking at them now. Then you might not even need to ask for an extension of the 10-day review period."

I think they would love to be able to do that, but they're too scared because they don't really know how many valid signatures they have.

John Foust said...

I dunno, Tom. They're following the law. You want them to do something different, then make a convincing argument.

"I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of fraud there, so we'd like an early crack at yet again telling you to stop hitting yourself" isn't much of an argument.

Why didn't the WisGOP suggest that the recall petitioners be given a little extra time to gather signatures? That would've been so nice. I'm sure United Wisconsin would thank them afterwards. Isn't that enough reason to give them more time?

After all, the WisGOP has been otherwise so civil and reached across the aisle so many times in the last year.

Brew City Brawler said...

LOL. Given that Jeff Wagner spent 30 minutes plus yesterday telling his audience that he suspected 1/3 or more of the signatures were duplicates or from mickey mouse or hitler -- file under "public concerns," I guess -- I'm sure that conservative activists could be trusted to provide a fair and balanced review. Please.

scott said...

If the signatures should be handled differently than the law dictates, the solution is simple: change the law.

Otherwise, you can complain all you want--just don't expect anyone to feel obligated to take you seriously. I certainly won't.

Anonymous said...

When will Herr Professor comment on the Dunce Justice's latest misstep? I'm talking about Gobble-Gobble-Gableman's "free representation" deal.

If Shirley or Ann Walsh Bradley was involved in a stunt like this, the wingnuts like Herr Professor would be screaming to high heaven.

How about it Slick Rick? What say you?

Anonymous said...

The reason {my opinion} they want to view the signatures, is to gain information such as peoples' names & addresses. This makes it so much quicker and easier to intimidate & harass those who chose to sign the petition. These kind of tactics are already in use around my small town, rural community in NW WI.

Tom said...

This is pretty fun, seeing how many times you can ask the same question without getting answered.

John, yes, they don't have to. Take a crack at explaining why they're choosing not to do something that would be such a huge benefit to them from a PR standpoint? I've got a rational explanation. It might be wrong, but I haven't seen your idea.

John Foust said...

I can't imagine any PR benefit. Show me a PR person from either side who thinks it would have a PR benefit. There's plenty of risk for bad PR from the Walker side. It's what they do.

Like I said, it'll be a "stop hitting yourself" moment. The WisGOP will leap on any flaw and flog it. If they can't find enough flaws, they'll invent some. It doesn't need to be true. It just needs to stick through a two-day news cycle. If some yahoo thinks it'll hurt the recall effort, they'll run it. The news media isn't fast enough to catch up with small lies. Look at what they've done already. "Cigs for sigs" was a great example. The "I signed 80 times" story disappeared in the wind.

You see a PR benefit in that? It's far better to wait until they've secured a sufficient number of signatures.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

"Show them"

It seems to me then Walker should resign, or at least show the public what defense him and his lawyers are working on with the John Doe investigation.

"If there is nothing to see here, then why not make them available to the public?"

Unknown said...

Too bad. Lying Garage infests another site, one which formerly had a rather high level of discussion.