MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker may be hiding from his endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s appearance in Green Bay later today, but Trump will be echoing Walker’s discredited talking points claiming fraud in state elections. Despite Walker’s decades-long claims of voter fraud, under oath his administration was unable to provide any evidence in One Wisconsin Institute’s successful federal lawsuit tossing out many of Walker’s voter suppression laws as unconstitutional.
“Donald Trump is Scott Walker’s apprentice on these phony claims of voter fraud in our elections,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “The only fraud in our elections is partisan politicians like Scott Walker and Donald Trump trying to rig our laws for political gain.”
In the case One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, et. al., Federal Judge James Peterson threw out several Walker laws, including restrictions on early voting, ending weekend voting and onerous residency requirements. A three-judge appeals panel of all Republican appointees refused Walker’s request that One Wisconsin Institute’s victory be stayed pending appeal. Judge Peterson concluded that Walker’s laws, which were designed specifically to keep legal African American voters from casting a ballot, Peterson also spoke of the lack of any actual widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin.
Among some of the judge’s findings on Walker’s claims of fraud:
“The bottom line is that impersonation fraud is a truly isolated phenomenon that has not posed a significant threat to the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. The same cannot be said for Wisconsin’s voter ID law…” Opinion at 21.
“The comments that plaintiffs have identified [from legislators] paint a consistent picture that resonates with the rest of the record, particularly the lack of a verified problem with voter fraud, and the increasingly partisan divisions in support for the law. The conclusion is hard to resist: the Republican leadership believed that voter ID would help the prospects of Republicans in future elections.” Opinion at 36.
In addition to Walker’s phony claims and courtroom defeats, recent, explosive documents from the 2012 investigation of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and political corruption in Wisconsin also reveal conservatives’ strategy to make baseless accusations of voting impropriety, in that case to question the results of an election they thought they had lost. In an email chain, Republican insiders, concerned that conservative Justice David Prosser had lost his 2011 election bid, hatched a scheme to question the legitimacy of the election by enlisting the support of right wing radio to spread allegations of fraudulent voting. The chain include central figures in the Republican infrastructure and noise machine including right wing radio host Charlie Sykes, who dutifully repeated the allegations in response, according to media reports at the time.
“When you hear Trump claiming only voter fraud will prevent him from winning, you can remember who gave him his talking points: Scott Walker,” said Ross.