Exclusive: More True the Vote Poll Watching Materials Wrong

Legal Memo Calls Instructions 'Blatant Misinformation'

MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now has uncovered more flaws in materials being distributed to Wisconsin poll watchers by the racist, right wing Texas outfit True the Vote. The “training materials” pointedly ignore Wisconsin law regarding election observers. True the Vote is working with the Bradley Foundation-funded American Majority to allegedly put 1 million poll watchers in precincts across the country, according to the organization.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “This is the second time we’ve caught True the Vote engaging in gutter politics. That they are part of the Bradley Foundation Empire just shows you the depths to which the Republican money machine is willing to sink. The good news is that people know what they are up to and ready to ensure our elections are run smoothly and cleanly.”

A legal analysis prepared by One Wisconsin Now’s partner, One Wisconsin Institute, shows that the True the Vote materials:

  • Mistakenly state that a driver’s license number is required if it has ever been issued. This is absolutely not true. The statutes require the license number only if it is current and valid. Numbers for licenses that are expired, suspended or revoked are not required. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is very clear in its position and the statues are even clearer: no voter may be forced to provide expired, invalid or revoked license numbers, and no voter registration should be rejected for providing the last four digits of one’s social security number in place of an expired, suspended or revoked license.
  • Wrongly assume the observer can and should be able to see whether the poll worker is receiving correct proof of residence and whether the poll worker is properly recording the information. The GAB has taken a strong and unambiguous position that observers have the right to observe the public aspects of the process, but that this does not include the right to view the details of any documents used for voter registration and does not include the right to view any details as to what is being written on the registration form.

True the Vote is relatively new to Wisconsin, but has been quickly embraced by the Wisconsin right wing infrastructure. In 2011, they received a $35,000 grant from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation that had previously funded voter suppression billboards in Milwaukee, according to a joint investigation by One Wisconsin and theGrio. They were forced to return the funds, however, due to their failure to secure non-profit tax status.

In addition, True the Vote has partnered the Virginia-based American Majority to recruit poll workers in Wisconsin. American Majority has received over $650,000 dollars in Bradley Foundation support to recruit poll watchers. [Source: IRS 990 Documents]

The memo was prepared by Attorney Rebecca Mason of Rebecca Mason Law LLC of Racine, who specializes in political law and has advised clients on issues of voter access and political observer laws in Wisconsin in every election since November 2006. This is second intentionally erroneous set of materials distributed by True the Vote in Wisconsin.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.