New investigations of Scott Walker and friends
New probe investigating illegal actions, including campaign violations during the Senate and Governor’s recall elections.
Scene 2 – “Command Central”
The first post in the New John Doe Investigation covered the Americans for Prosperity illegal and fraudulent mailings during the Wisconsin Senate Recall Elections.
Today we will look at the election laws that were broken before and after the Scott Walker’s Recall election June 5, 2012. Just to be clear, this is not a conspiracy theory or an account of accusations based on conjecture. The elections laws that were broken and are referred to in the instances below, were documented. They were not covered in the main stream press.
Early send back of election materials
In the days after the June 5 Recall election I reported on my own attempt to satisfy my curiosity about the Recall Election outcome in Crawford County, which Walker won even though the county voted a comfortable win for Obama in ’08, Barrett in ’10, Shilling in the Senate recall election, yet, as in so many other rural areas in Wisconsin, Walker won Crawford County by 100+ votes.
So, one day, after the June 5 election I went to County Clerk’s office to get more information about the details, only to discover that the memory cards that hold the official vote count weren’t there; they had already been sent back to the vendor, Command Central,(pictured right) whose office is near St. Cloud Minnesota. They were sent back on June 14. This is a full week before the June 21 deadline when election materials are to kept secure, by law, for citizen inspection or the possibility of a recount. Read “Cartridges, Clerks, and Men in White Suits”.
The memory cards that held all the digital data of June 5 Recall election were not secure – they were gone.
Command Central has a Scary Secret
Command Central is the vendor for electronic voting machines in Crawford and many other counties throughout Wisconsin. Command Central is a private corporation that supplies election hardware and the programming and tabulation software that goes along with it. Yet, they have no real oversight by any government agency, elected official(s), or the judiciary. Therefore the corporation holds a very scary and unique secret that flies in the face of Democracy. In a country that was founded with a constitution to provide a proven structure of checks and balances among the three branches of government, Command Central has none.
Open Records Request
I presented Crawford County Clerk Giesler with on open records request for the return of the cartridges (memory cards) to which she responded, “You mean you want us to get these back?”. Surprise.
When I asked why they were sent back before the time when were to kept secure by law, she explained how the early send back practice came to be. It seems the County did hold the cartridges for the full “inspection period” in previous elections but it cost the county $40 to send them back by courier, so guess what? – Command Central had offered to store them for the county, promising to hold them until the “secure date” had lapsed.
Command Central’s contract includes a provision to abide by state statutes, yet, here they were, “offering” to have cartridges returned to them before the deadline detailed in the state statutes. No…no. What’s more, this cozy storage of cartridges, that occupy no more space than your top dresser drawer, was not unique to Crawford County. It was discovered that other county clerks throughout the state had also participated in this “early send back syndrome”.
After the discovery that Crawford County had sent back memory cards before the 21 day period [GAB 5.02 WI stats. 7.23(1)(g)],Free Wisconsin teamed up with John Washburn Investigations and Marrianne Moonhouse to further investigate the “early send back syndrome”. The forty-five Wisconsin Counties, who use Command Central’s SEQ-AVC Edge II DRE touch screen machines, were sent open record requests to inspect the memory cards for each polling place in each county under [WI stats. 19.31-19.39].
As a result, it was further discovered that 23 counties had sent back memory cards early. Not only were the memory cards vacated from the County Clerks’ offices but they were sent out-of-state to Command Central’s office in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This is illegal. This was against the law. Yet, no one was ever reprimanded or punished for the infraction. It was not even covered in the press.
When Vice President of Command Central, Larry Zins heard about all of the open record requests to the clerks, he composed the letter below to provide “incentive” to getting the materials returned.
I’m afraid that we must add at least one more step to our preparation for the August 14th Partisan Primary. Because of the high volume of active Open Records Requests that are circulating throughout the state, we must ask you to confirm (by replying to this email) that Command Central is authorized to burn the June 5th media (cartridges and memory packs) with the August 14th programming. We request this confirmation whether or not you have shipped the media back to us already or not.
For those of you who have not sent your media to us, the results cartridges and memory packs MUST be in our possession by Monday, July 16th. We must put a “deadline” date on this request in order to perform our processes most efficiently and ensure timely delivery of the media to the municipalities or counties, whichever the case may be. Our hope is that none of you are required to purchase additional media, but for those municipalities/counties that must “hold” the June 5th media, extra cartridges are available for sale at $200 each and extra memory packs are available at $300 for Optech Eagles and $450 for Optech Insights.
The illegitimate threat of penalties
I was informed that my request to hold the memory cards under the open records request would cost the taxpayers of Crawford County over 12k and that information would be made public.
The taxpayers of Crawford County must now incur costs of $12,400 so that all new cartridges can be burned for the August primary election. I will be providing the Crawford County Independent with the costs for the cartridges as they have requested this information.
So on June 16, 2012 County Clerks throughout the State of Wisconsin boxed up the digital results of the June 5 recall election vote to be “burned”, all based on a threat from a private corporation with no transparency and whose vice president was deposed and admitted that the charges have no legitimacy. Read “thanks Larry’s” deposition for the Circuit Court of Wisconsin on how the charges for memory cards are determined. See testimony regarding charges for memory cards page 17 of document.
Perhaps the John Doe investigation is looking into how 23 County Clerks violated state statutes regarding the handling of election materials? Was the early send back coincidence or was it orchestrated by some other outside group, like the group that sent out fraudulent vote information before the Senate recall election?
Oh and there is more. More laws were broken in the lead up to the June 5 Recall election. Watch this space.