Tags: Wisconsin | Students | Voted | Early | and | Often

Wisconsin Students Voted Early and Often

Tuesday, 14 November 2000 12:00 AM

Some said they voted four times because no one checked their identity.

Unofficial tabulation of Wisconsin's votes showed Vice President Al Gore ahead of Texas Gov. George W. Bush by a slim 6,099 votes, with about 2.5 million, or 66 percent – the third-highest rate in the nation – of the eligible voters having cast ballots.

Milwaukee District Attorney E. Michael McCann said his office has investigated the reports by the Marquette Tribune and found that some Marquette, and also some University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students, had voted more than once at what he described as "chaotic" polling places. There were no estimates of the number of votes illegally cast.

The unidentified Marquette student who apparently spearheaded the multiple vote movement said he did it because he wanted to show how vulnerable the Wisconsin voting system is to fraud. He said he simply went to a polling place at a middle school in the university neighborhood and signed a registration card with his own name, swearing he was the person named on the card.

He said he was not asked for identification.

The law permits polling place registration, and large numbers of Wisconsin citizens did so Nov. 7. But the applicant is supposed to provide identification in the form of a driver's license or utility bill. The student said it proved so easy he voted three more times.

He said he voted for himself for president each time because none of the official candidates represented his ideas.

Multiple voting is punishable under Wisconsin law by a maximum 4 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The newspaper quoted the student as saying he wanted to remain anonymous but really didn't think anyone would prosecute him because it would expose the weakness of the system.

Republicans had been discussing the possibility of a recount before the university case was revealed. There had been a number of complaints about polling place "irregularities" and a Milwaukee television station had broadcast pictures of what appeared to be a Democratic Party volunteer handing out free cigarettes to get 15 to 25 homeless men to vote on absentee ballots.

Both the state GOP and the district attorney had set up telephone hotlines to receive such complaints.

There were demonstrations in Madison and Milwaukee during the weekend, but the protests drew few participants and the talk was mainly about reform of the Electoral College rather than demands for recounts.

The Bush campaign has until next Wednesday – three days after Friday's official state canvass – to petition for a recount. State election officials said they doubted a recount would change Wisconsin's 11 electoral votes for Gore or shift the lead in the national popular vote.

Christine Sinicki, a Democrat who represents a Milwaukee district in the legislature and is one of the state's 270 electors who will meet Dec. 18, criticized the Republicans for trying to rush the election process. She said she was not committed to the abolition of the Electoral College but believes a fairer system would be to allow the states' electors to represent the split of the popular vote rather than giving all the votes to the winner. Unofficial totals gave Gore 47.9 percent of the vote to 47.7 percent for Bush.

Eighty percent of Wisconsin voters used optical scanner ballots in the Nov. 7 election. In this system, the voter simply fills in the middle of an arrow beside the name of the chosen candidate, using a provided felt-tip pen.

Only about 7 percent of the state's votes used punch cards and about 1,000 communities still used hand-counted paper ballots, Wisconsin has been converting to scanners because there were a number of disputed elections in the past involving punch cards.

(C) 2000 UPI. All Rights Reserved.

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Some said they voted four times because no one checked their identity. Unofficial tabulation of Wisconsin's votes showed Vice President Al Gore ahead of Texas Gov. George W. Bush by a slim 6,099 votes, with about 2.5 million, or 66 percent - the third-highest rate in the...
Wisconsin,Students,Voted,Early,and,Often
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2000-00-14
Tuesday, 14 November 2000 12:00 AM
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