The Wisconsin Democratic Party on Tuesday called for an investigation into whether a conservative group tried to suppress turnout in next week’s recall elections targeting Republican state senators by telling voters that absentee ballots received a day after election day would be counted.
Meanwhile, elections regulators said the Democratic National Committee promised to stop calling voters in one of the Republicans’ districts after it gave some of his constituents the wrong election date in automated calls last week.
… The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a complaint Monday with the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, alleging that absentee ballot applications mailed out by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has spent heavily to help the Republicans, were intended to suppress turnout. And on Tuesday, state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate sent a request for an investigation to U.S. Attorney James Santelle. His office declined to comment on the matter.
The mailing, which the group says was sent to about 10,000 voters in the six Republican senators’ districts, states that absentee ballots received the Thursday before the election will be counted, which is accurate. But in a section that gives step-by-step instructions, the letter states that ballots received before Aug. 11 by city clerks would be counted.
Americans for Prosperity state director Matt Seaholm said Tuesday that a typo was to blame for the error and he called the complaints over the mailing frivolous.
… Two Democrats who received the AFP mailing and live in the districts of Republican Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Rob Cowles of Allouez also filed complaints with the elections board.
“I believe I was targeted by this Republican group because I am a Democrat and a senior citizen,” Charles E. Schultz, of Hudson, wrote in his complaint. Schultz told The Associated Press he is an active Democrat and a liberal and has no idea how he would have gotten onto the AFP mailing list.
Seaholm said there were supposed to be separate mailings for the Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 elections, and that each was to list the different deadlines on which ballots must be received. But he said the letters that went to the six Republican districts were not caught before they were sent. Aug. 11 is the deadline for requesting ballots for the Aug. 16 elections, and ballots will be counted if received by election day.
Americans for Prosperity is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads in support of the Republican candidates. The group was founded by billionaire conservative activists David and Charles Koch.