October 30, 2012

Mike Browne, Deputy Director
(608) 444-3483

One Wisconsin Now Uncovers More Problems With Right Wing Poll Watcher Training

True the Vote Poll Watching Materials Fact Deficient

True the Vote

MADISON, Wis. — On the heels of the revelation that the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s poll watcher training included incorrect information and advised individuals to conceal their partisan affiliation from local election workers, One Wisconsin Now has uncovered Texas-based True the Vote’s Wisconsin poll watcher training materials also feature incomplete and incorrect information. 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, “It appears that the right wing extremists either don’t know the law in Wisconsin or don’t care about providing poll watchers with correct information.”

According to a legal memo prepared for One Wisconsin Now’s partner, One Wisconsin Institute, the True the Vote materials include:

  • Incorrect and incomplete information regarding who may challenge a voter’s qualifications;
  • Incomplete information about how an individual may verify their residence;
  • Misinformation about how poll watchers may interact with poll workers; and
  • Incorrect information on the timeline a voter may cure deficiencies that required them to cast a provisional ballot.

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 with the Virginia-based American Majority to recruit poll workers in Wisconsin. American Majority has received over $650,000 dollars in Bradley Foundation support.

Ross concluded, “Just like the right wing’s attempt to play the system for their political advantage with voter suppression billboards, any attempt to prevent legal voters who want to cast their ballot from doing so, and having that vote counted, will fail.”

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.