Missing poll book signatures reportedly recovered in Racine

RACINE — Election officials overseeing the recount in the 21st Senate District recall race in Racine announced Monday, June 25th they discovered pages of missing signatures from poll books — for voters who registered on election day. On Tuesday, June 26th, FOX6’s media partners at the Caledonia Patch reported the missing signatures were recovered on different pages, but within the same poll book.

The signatures in question were for ballots cast by residents who registered on election day. Republicans grew suspicious after pages of missing signatures from same-day voters were discovered throughout the City of Racine.

“We are having a few problems getting poll books to reconcile easily in the city of Racine. That could take us a little longer to get through,” Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said.

When a voter registers on the same day as the election, the poll workers need to take the completed registration form, create an entry in the poll book, then copy that entry in a second poll book. The voter is then required to sign their entry. The Mount Pleasant Patch reported it is those signatures that were missing in some wards from the June 5th recall election in the City of Racine.

Christensen says poll workers made a mistake by not getting those signatures, though the State Board of Canvass has ruled votes without a signature will still count.

“A fifth-grader could read the statutes and understand what’s required of the voters and what’s required of the poll workers and it’s clear to us that didn’t happen,” said Jonathan Strasburg, attorney for the Van Wanggard campaign.

Democrat John Lehman beat Republican incumbent Senator Van Wanggaard by 834 votes during the June 5th recall election. Van Wanggaard requested a recount, citing voter irregularities.

Now, the Republican party is raising a red flag, saying the missing signatures is just one more problem found at the polls.They’ve already filed complaints against poll worker’s misconduct on election day and say it needs to be investigated further. 

“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,” Bill Folk, Racine Co. GOP Party Chair said.

Democrats have alleged out-of-state poll watchers intimidated voters. A Democratic Party spokesman at the recount questioned why those groups came to Wisconsin.

“The voters are really an informed public so we take it that why should we have outside groups intimidating our voters making sure our elections are fair?” Democratic Party spokesman Brad Wojciechowski said.

The Wanggaard campaign declined to comment, saying it has heard little about the accusations. Should the recount result stand, Wanggaard’s campaign could challenge the decision in the circuit court, but a campaign attorney said they won’t make a decision until after the ruling, scheduled to come Monday, July 2nd.

The Racine County Clerk’s office said they never received a complaint about voter intimidation.

CLICK HERE for more on this story from FOX6′s media partners at the Caledonia Patch.

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