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Friday, April 29, 2011

Wisconsin Dems "Push-Calling" Recall Wirch Petition Signers

"Push-polling" is where a type of campaign tactic where, under the guise of a poll, misleading or inflammatory questions are asked about an opposing candidate.  The point of the push-poll is to persuade the person being polled as to a candidate or issue, rather than actually soliciting opinions.

A similar tactic is being used by the Wisconsin Democratic Party to try to get people who signed petitions to recall Democratic state Senator Robert Wirch to say that they were deceived or didn't know what they were signing.  The tactic is not a push-poll, but a call seeking to verify petition signatures in which suggestive statements are made which would call into question the signature.

As reflected in the audio below, the push-call starts with the following introduction suggesting that there has been a widespread problem with petition signatures:
"The reason we're calling is there were reports from people in the community that out of state paid circulators were misleading people about what they were being asked to sign and we have reports of them tricking voters into thinking they were signing a petition, say at a nearby shopping mall, or providing them with misleading information, so all we were calling was to find out is if you did intend to sign the petition to remove Democratic Senator Wirch from office."
Before the audio started, the caller did identify herself as calling from the Democratic Party.  According to the person who provided me with the audio, the number which showed up on the caller i.d. was the number used by the group fighting the recall on behalf of Wirch.

Here is the audio (note: the voices are slightly distorted because the woman receiving the call is afraid that her identity would be revealed, and the audio cuts off the last few seconds of the call where the first names of both people are used):

The point of the introduction is to suggest that the petition signer may have been deceived, and that the phone call merely is a form of verification.  This is not an attempt to solicit facts, but to suggest facts to the person who signed the petition. 

At no part of the call does the caller indicate she not only is calling for the Democratic Party, she is working for the Wirch campaign as part of efforts to throw out the recall petition.

The Recall Wirch group which organized the petition drive has issued a press release objecting to these tactics, which apparently have taken place in other districts as well.

There certainly is nothing wrong with verifying signatures.  That's what the process is about. 

But it must be very unsettling to people, in light of the death threats and intimidation tactics employed by opponents of Gov. Scott Walker, to receive a phone call at home when phone numbers were not part of the petition. 

In normal times perhaps a phone call at home would not be viewed as intimidation, but considering what has happened in Wisconsin, people who receive such calls must be worried.

Additionally, the phone call is deceptive, in that it suggests at the start that there has been a problem reported "by people in the community" with deceptive petition practices.  In fact, other than a few isolated incidents, there has not been any evidence made public of widespread problems with the over 18,000 signatures (only 13,537). And the call was not made as a response to complaints, but as part of a pre-planned attack on the petitions.

This is an attempt to create the appearance of problems with the Recall Wirch petitions, not to document actual pre-existing problems.

Related Posts:
WI Dems Organizing To Challenge "Recall Wirch" Petitions
"Recall Wirch" Files Recall Petitions

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  1. In fact, other than a few isolated incidents, there has not been any evidence made public of widespread problems

    Well, yeah, there might have been one or two reports...

    See, it's a funny thing. In 2004, the Milwaukee GOP was shrieking in high-pitched voices about "voter fraud!" They spent huge amounts of time and money on signature verification and poring over voter rolls, and felt vindicated when they found 18 bad votes. Out of the whole city. (See pages 29-32)

    Now Dan Hunt, head of the Recall Robert Wirch Committee, is angered by telephone calls that ask a simple question: “The Democratic Party is clearly attempting to intimidate those who signed the petitions,” Hunt said in a prepared statement. “This harassment should be halted immediately, and Sen. Wirch should denounce the tactics employed by the Democrats in their attempt to disenfranchise recall petitioners.”

    This is "intimidation" how, exactly? Are the mean phone calls going to scare the signatures off the page?

    So when does the GOP think it's "reasonable efforts to validate the vote," and when is it "thuggery and intimidation"? Especially when the "reasonable effort" included slashing tires on GOTV cars, and the "thuggery" involves calling someone and asking "did you know what you were signing?"

    it must be very unsettling to people... to receive a phone call at home when phone numbers were not part of the petition.

    Wow, yeah. I can't see how anybody could have dug those numbers up. Technology is so confusing!

  2. @Nameless Cynic - including a lot of links in your comment does not mean that you actually prove what you say. None of the links provides evidence of more than a handful of supposed problems, none of which would invalidate signatures anyway. Linking to a TPM puff piece quoting Democratic operatives is not proof.

  3. Incredible! They think this isn't INTIMIDATION? How DARE they??? Now that IS cynical!
    And were these petition names STOLEN from the break-in?
    OMG, these people need a splash of water in the face!
    But, wait.
    Is that too violent?

  4. I am exasperated for the poor defenders of the Republic in Wisconsin.

    I pray for them to hold on to the priceless promises of the Constitution. They will prevail.

  5. @William: well, in responding to your link-heavy piece, it seemed the only balanced way to go about it.

    Linking to a TPM puff piece quoting Democratic operatives is not proof.

    But linking to yourself linking to Republican operatives is? Huh. Funny, that.

    Incidentally, it looks like you're going to have a whole month to obsess about this, so you might as well read up on it. (Oops. Sorry. More links.)

  6. If they called me, I'd probably ask them who they were and why they cared to call me and take up my time when I've already expressed my wishes with the recall petition.

  7. I wonder if the people being called were from the stolen petitions?

  8. The WI Dems managed in the national elections in 2000 & 2004 to steal the electoral votes by 10K & 5K, but since the state was run by a RICO governor named Doyle and GWB won both elections, the GOP backed away from officially contesting widespread evidence of massive vote fraud in Milwaukee & Dane Counties.

    Wisconsin, Minnesota & Washington [State] are three swing-states that prove the Dems will stop at nothing to impose their nanny-state big-government agenda, regardless of voter preferences.

  9. The Thugocrats; stealing elections one vote at a time.