April 07, 2011

As the WI Supreme Court Election Moves Beyond the Margin of Litigation Toward Prosser, What Will Become of Republican Fraud Claims?

With news reports indicating that human error was responsible for a failure to include 7,582 votes in favor of Justice Prosser in the vote totals, I breathe a sigh of relief from the point of view of election administration. Though it is possible that there will be other, countervailing errors, it seems doubtful that they could make up this huge gain.

Over the last day and a half, I have been collecting and blogging links showing Republican concerns about voter fraud. Here's Ann Althouse, before the new numbers were revealed, responding to my Politico piece:

    So... because past claims of fraud have been "methodically debunked" -- have they? -- we should stop even looking for fraud? We'll only suffer if we keep checking for cheaters? This sounds way too preemptive to me. I've spent the last 2 months in a vortex of political ugliness and saw it grafted onto the judicial election. I saw frantically impassioned protesters grasping at the symbolism of this election and building an intense shared feeling of entitlement to shift the politics of this state. I heard the phrase "by any means necessary" more than once.

    In this context, Prosser proponents have every right to drag us through the search for fraud one more time. I hope they don't find it, and Professor Hasen can add this new example to his next there-is-no-fraud column. But there's a 204 vote margin in this crazy election. We need to feel confident that the outcome is correct.

There's John Fund too before this calling out the fraud.

Here's what I expect: With Prosser in the lead, the claims of fraud on the Republican side will stop. The Democrats will not raise claims of fraud even if they contest the election.

UPDATE: I already may need to take back the last part of this post: looks like Dems may soon start playing fraud card in WI Sup Ct race, focusing on the clerk who found the lost votes.

Posted by Rick Hasen at April 7, 2011 04:49 PM