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Racine Republican Party files allegations of poll worker misconduct

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RACINE -- Thursday, June 21st was the second day of the recount in the 21st Senate District, and Racine County workers spent the day counting recall ballots by hand. Meanwhile, the county's Republican Party announced it is challenging the way some of those votes were cast, and the Racine County Sheriff's Office is now involved.

Bill Folk is the chairman for Racine County's Republican Party. When his poll observer coordinator brought some recall election day issues to his attention, he took the concerns very seriously.

"He sat down with those volunteers and had them go through in detail, and had them fill out sworn affidavits that say exactly what transpired," Folk said.

The group has filed four allegations of poll worker misconduct. FOX6's media partners at the Caledonia Patch have reported those include: 

  • a polling inspector refusing to uphold the challenge of a poll watcher at Bryant Park
  • a Jefferson Lighthouse poll worker canvassing the neighborhood over lunch
  • absentee ballots being copied onto real ballots without a witness at the Cesar Chavez Community Center

"Because of the number of items we found and because of the lack of cooperation we had at some of the polling locations, we felt this was necessary to push this to a full investigation," Folk said.

Jane Witt with the Racine County Democratic Party said her Republican counterparts have brought up these kinds of allegations in the past.

"They can go ahead and investigate, and I think they're proper to do so, but I'm not worried about it. I have no doubts about the poll workers efficiency and honesty and their protecting the legitimacy of the election," Witt said.

The Republican Party's "poll watcher" program has been in place since 2000. Folk said it's designed to ensure elections are valid and says though they haven't found fraud in past years, he's concerned with the number of issues that have been raised following the recall election.

"In this circumstance, we found enough evidence that there is the potential that fraud could be there," Folk said.

The Racine County Sheriff's Department said the investigation will take time. One lieutenant told FOX6 News they have already had to expand the list of people to interview.

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