Friday, September 19, 2008

Everyone should take a breath on the HAVA suit

I did a few press interviews on the Van Hollen law suit, so I suppose I should blog on it. I have two reactions. First, it is unfair to say that the lawsuit is frivolous or only seeks to foster partisan interests. Federal law required cross checks as of January 2006 and Wisconsin did not develop the capacity to do them until August 2008. There was a reason for the law. Congress decided that fair elections required that certain steps be taken to ensure accurate voter lists in federal elections. It gave the states a deadline and Wisconsin missed it. In that sense, Van Hollen has the law and the facts on his side.

But ... and here is my second impression and one that I think (and certainly hope) that the Attorney General shares ... there is only so much that we can do between now and November 4. This is why I think that this is a case that must be settled. We probably can't do the required cross checks and resolve all discrepancies between now and November 4. Van Hollen does not seem to be insisting on that. His problem is with the Government Accountability Board's position that they need do nothing to remedy the state's untimely compliance.

The Board's response to its refusal to do anything about the state's untimeliness is to say that we can't do everything. That seems unreasonable.

What the parties need to do is decide where the likelihood of inaccuracy and fraud is the greatest and then determine which checks to run and which ones should be acted upon. I don't know what that should be. Maybe we run checks against the data base of deaths and felons and call it a day. Maybe we run a broader check but follow up only on those discrepancies that cannot readily be explained by clerical errors, developing a set of ground rules for defining those. Perhaps we focus on the registrations submitted by special registrars which are often representatives of partisan groups like ACORN.

What they should not do is turn it into a political football. Van Hollen has - however inconveniently - identified a real problem and seems to be flexible about how to deal with it. Doyle has appointed an excellent - but staunchly partisan - lawyer to represent the board. Lester Pines and the board - and J.B. Van Hollen and my brothers and sisters in the conservative community - need to understand that we are in a situation where compromise is in order.


Dad29 said...


Let's start with this:

1) Doyle resigns. So does the Leftenant-Governor.

2) Accenture volunteers its entire staff to serve as election clerks--at Accenture's expense.

3) The GAB board manually counts every single vote cast in Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

What have we come to.
The Attorney General attempts to uphold a federal law that requires that steps be taken to ensure that VOTER SUPPRESSION does not occur.

And liberals are upset.

What next? Van Hollen asserts that slashing Republican vehicle tires is wrong, and liberals protest?
The real problem here, is that liberals object because they approve of voter suppression and fraud. So long as they are the beneficiaries.

Anonymous said...

How many fraudulent votes were case in 2006 by these people whose registrations now must be re-checked? Surely the Republican fraud-fighters would have found some in the intervening time. It's been nearly two years -- almost as long as Palin has been Governor of Alaska! Where are all these fraudulent votes?

The bottom line is that there aren't any!

Anonymous said...

This is worth adding to the debate:

Friday, September 19, 2008


He Likes the Convenience of On-Site Registration -- for Himself, but would Deny it to Others

Special to the Readers of

By Michael Horne

If I were up to the sort of mischief our attorney general promotes, I'd head up to Polling Place #2, 333 S. Madison Street in Waunakee, Wisconsin on election day and challenge JOHN BYRON VANHOLLEN when he shows up to vote. VANHOLLEN, born February 19th, 1966, better known by the alias "J. B. Van Hollen," is the attorney general of the state of Wisconsin. He's been busy meddling with the state court system to insist that election commission officials go through a punctilious scrutiny of voters which he feels is mandated by the HAVA act.
I don't think he'd pass his own test.

JOHN BYRON VANHOLLEN is the same guy as JOHN B VAN HOLLEN, who once lived at 816 Chalfont Drive, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, when he served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. But a search of "J. B. Van Hollen" (with or without the space) would not turn up his name in the state register of voters, even though he uses the initials and the space as his legal designation in court documents and when he ran for election, and in his official biography in the Wisconsin Blue Book. Here, try for yourself -- the state doesn't even have a place to enter a middle initial in its search form. Thanks for nothing!

And, once you find out his first name is John, things don't get much better, since when he was registered in Sun Prairie on November 5th, 2002, he went by JOHN B VAN HOLLEN, [no middle name, and a space between "Van" and "Hollen"] (again, search for yourself). Oh, by the way, it appears that Van Hollen registered at the polls, since he also voted on November 5th, 2002, on the spot, according to records.

Apparently Van Hollen likes the convenience of registering at the polls -- I wonder what sort of ID he had to produce when he registered in Waunakee on September 14th, 2004 -- also an election day! That's when he signed up as JOHN BYRON VANHOLLEN -- adding a middle name, and merging his two last names into one. Interestingly, he bought his house at 1303 Lawton Court in Waunakee on March 15th, 2004, but continued to vote from his Sun Prairie address as late as April 6th, 2004. He didn't sell that house until June 17th, 2004, so I guess he had his choice.

Clearly, if a U.S. Attorney and a Wisconsin Attorney General can't see to it that his name is clearly and consistently entered into official documents, what right has he to insist on onerous requirements for those who lack his professional credentials and sophistication?

Unknown said...

I always really, really disliked the Navy enlisted working uniform; I always figured that the reason you weren't allowed to go off base in them is that it would drive recruiting numbers down. Well, it looks like the Navy Task Force Unform has been hard at work, and succeeded in coming up with something even worse. Granted, the summer white uniform was hard to keep clean, and if you went out in town in the thing you were surrounded by kids asking if they could buy a Bomb Pop, but at least it looked decent. This new one looks like something that got rejected by some military junior high school. Plus, what's up with the rank insignia on the collars? It was already difficult enough to tell a CPO from a LCDR at a distance, and now we've got everyone wearing this metal crap. You can see several pages of the proposed new uniforms starting here. I guess I'm just turning into a fuddy-duddy old retiree, but jeez, these things have got to be a prank that got out of hand...
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