MADISON, Wis. — Contrary to claims made by a top official with Wisconsin Right to Life, automated calls made to an untold number of Wisconsin homes in the days leading up to Tuesday’s Republican-orchestrated primary that included “fake Democrats,” went to non-WRTL supporters. One Wisconsin Now, which is calling for a full investigation by law enforcement into the allegation of voter suppression, confirmed at least one household receiving the calls was not supporters of WRTL, but also has never, in more than 20 years at the address, voted absentee.
“These calls seem to make use of the voter suppression tactics of misinforming voters in an attempt to keep them from voting,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “The timing of the calls certainly raises the questions: Were these call meant to keep certain voters from going to the polls? Law enforcement should immediately investigate.”
Reports surfaced Monday about so-called “robo-calls” being made into homes in areas where primary elections were being held against Democrats running to recall six Republican senators. Republicans ran “fake Democrats” to prolong the election period. Wisconsin Right to Life had the calls made from a Virginia telephone number.
The WRTL call informs the recipients they will be receiving an absentee ballot application in the coming days and to “complete that application and send it back to us within seven days.” Given the timing just prior to the primary elections in which Republican-allied groups like WRTL want to drive down turnout, One Wisconsin Now believes unsolicited calls to non-WRTL members were an effort to confuse voters into staying home during yesterday’s primary elections.
Wisconsin Right to Life PAC director Susan Armacost claimed to the online news service Wispolitics.com that, “These are calls made to our supporters.”
This statement is contradicted by a family from northwestern Wisconsin, which provided One Wisconsin Now a copy of the call received on their home voicemail Monday afternoon. The recipients confirmed they have lived at the address for more than 20 years, have never voted absentee and have never supported nor signed up for information from Wisconsin Right to Life. The voters in the household also confirmed they are strong supporters of the recall election being held against their Republican state Senator.
“Wisconsin Right to Life can claim whatever it wants, but the timing and the audience raise serious questions,” said Ross. “Voter suppression has no place in Wisconsin and no place in America.”
Section 12.09 of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits a person from using any fraudulent device to “impede or prevent the free exercise of the franchise at an election.” One Wisconsin Now said it was critical that a full investigation commence to ensure no laws were broken and if they were to prevent any potential misconduct in the future.
In 2010, One Wisconsin Now unearthed a voter caging scheme by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and the heads of the “Tea Party” groups. Attention brought by One Wisconsin Now findings helped thwart the execution of the voter suppression plot.