It’s always seemed strange that Wisconsin Republicans like Reince Priebus and Scott Walker would insult their own state by claiming that it has a problem with voter fraud and needs tougher laws to prevent it. Wisconsin has traditionally been known for an uncommonly clean political culture (until recently, anyway), and I’ve never quite understood why conservatives would want to impugn it. Can you say “projection”? Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it’s the worst case of multiple voting in memory. Oh, and, did I mention he’s a Republican? Monroe got my attention because he’s from the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood, where I went to high school. Television coverage of the case focused on Shorewood’s quaint Village Hall, where I registered to vote at 18, and where Monroe allegedly filled out an absentee ballot for his son, who voted in person a few towns away, which helped trigger the investigation. Monroe lives six blocks away from where I grew up.
Investigators say Monroe voted twice for Alberta Darling in her 2011 recall, and five times for Walker in the June 2012 recall. He’s used his own name, his son’s name and his girlfriend’s son’s name. (They can’t be sure exactly whom he voted for in each case, but he gave money to Darling and Walker.) Then in the November presidential election, he voted first in Shorewood, then again in Lebanon, Indiana, where he also owns a home. He claims he had temporary amnesia and doesn’t remember any of the Election Day events.
Right before the 2012 recall, you may remember, Reince Priebus claimed that Democratic voter fraud could account for up to 2 percent of the vote on Election Day. “I’m always concerned about voter fraud, you know, being from Kenosha, and quite frankly having lived through seeing some of it happen,” Priebus told reporters. “Certainly in Milwaukee we have seen some of it, and I think it’s been documented. Any notion that’s not the case, it certainly is in Wisconsin. I’m always concerned about it, which is why I think we need to do a point or two better than where we think we need to be, to overcome it.”