TUESDAY UPDATE: From the Wisconsin State Journal–denials getting sniffed out, found wanting:
The recordings indicate that group was working with the state Republican Party and another organization, Americans for Prosperity, and planned to send mail to addresses on voter rolls and use any mail that is returned to challenge voters’ registrations. The practice is known as “voter caging.”
…Dake confirmed that tea party members had been at a coalition leadership meeting in Marshfield on June 12. And he said AFP had been planning on sending out mailings to confirm people are “legitimate voters.”
But he said they were interested in preventing voter fraud, not keeping legitimate voters from the polls.
“No, it wasn’t targeting anyone,” Dake said. “I don’t know how you could tell these were minorities or students.”
…Mark Block of Americans for Prosperity denied involvement to the Wisconsin State Journal, and said he didn’t think he was in town on June 12.
“I’ve never had a conversation of that sort with anybody,” Block said.
But he told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he had discussions with Dake and others about targeting voter fraud. He reportedly told that newspaper his group had sent 500 letters to voters asking them to join the organization, with the purpose of seeing whether or not the letters could be delivered. [Pols emphasis]
The story just now coming out from Madison, Wisconsin, involving that state’s Republican Party, conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity, and local Tea Party groups, isn’t alleged to involve their counterparts in Colorado. That we know of, anyway–from the release we got:
A coordinated plot by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and organizations in the so-called Tea Party movement targeting minority voters and college students in a possibly illegal “voter caging” effort for voter suppression has been uncovered in evidence obtained by One Wisconsin Now, a statewide advocacy organization in Madison, Wisconsin.
“Based on what we have heard, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and leading Tea Party organizations are in collusion in an effort to suppress the ability of minorities and university students in Wisconsin to exercise their right to vote this November,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “We will be providing all of the evidence we have received on this wrongdoing to federal and state authorities so that they can investigate to ensure justice and democracy prevail.”
According to the statements made on the recordings, Dake lays out the plans, detailing contact between himself and Reince Preibus, the Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair and Mark Block, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin:
The Republican Party of Wisconsin will use its “Voter Vault” state-wide voter file to compile a list of minority and student voters in targeted Wisconsin communities.
Americans for Prosperity will use this list to send mail to these voters indicating the voter must call and confirm their registration information, and telling them if they do not call the number provided they could be removed from the voter lists.
The Tea Party organizations will recruit and place individuals as official poll workers in selected municipalities in order to be able to make the challenges as official poll workers.
On Election Day, these organizations will then “make use” of any postcards that are returned as undeliverable to challenge voters at the polls, utilizing law enforcement, as well as attorneys trained and provided by the RPW, to support their challenges…
“Work with the media on this and district attorneys. Try to get them involved early and fired up about this and say look, ‘We know you’re shorthanded, we’re hands, we’re boots on the ground. We will help you, just bring the weight of the law behind us.’” [Pols emphasis]
“[Y]ou run into the racial thing. You have people screaming, ‘Oh, you’re denying the minorities the right to vote.’ No., we’re denying their right to vote multiple times.” [Tim Dake, GrandSons of Liberty]
For more on the controversial–and depending on circumstance, illegal–practice of “vote-caging,” read this primer from NYU’s law school. And obviously, this will be a story to watch closely.
UPDATE: a supporting set of documents linked to in the release.