A recent comment by our sometime governor caught my eye last week. In an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Mr. Walker indicated that he “plans to vote in Milwaukee County” this election.

But is Mr. Walker still a resident of Milwaukee County?

Let’s consider this question.

State law defines voter residence. Chapter 6.10, Wis. Stats., provides as follows:

6.10 Elector residence. Residence as a qualification for voting shall be governed by the following standards:
(1) The residence of a person is the place where the person’s habitation is fixed, without any present intent to move, and to which, when absent, the person intends to return. …
(3) When an elector moves his or her residence from one ward or municipality to another ward or municipality within the state at least 28 days before the election, the elector may vote in and be considered a resident of the new ward or municipality where residing upon registering at the proper polling place or other registration location in the new ward or municipality under s. 6.55 (2) or 6.86 (3) (a) 2. If the elector moves his or her residence later than 28 days before an election, the elector shall vote in the elector’s former ward or municipality if otherwise qualified to vote there.
Do the Walkers still reside in Wauwatosa for voting purposes?
The Walkers announced in January that they were putting their Wauwatosa home up for sale. At the time, Mr. Walker tweeted, “Matt graduates from Marquette in May. Alex from UW next May. Like many empty nesters, we are looking to downsize our home.” Apparently, the Walkers had been spending more time in the governor’s mansion than in Wauwatosa since their sons started attending college. According to a January report from Milwaukee’s Fox 6 News, “Over a 40-day period from late September through the end of October, the Walkers stayed in the Maple Bluff residence for 31 days and their Wauwatosa home for just nine days.” Moreover, the the Walker spokeperson confirmed that the Walkers would be looking for a smaller house once the Wauwatosa residence sold.

Photos of the Wauwatosa residence at the Trulia.com website, which was updated on March 17, 2016, show a partially-furnished home with large empty spaces. It does not look like a place where someone lives, even part-time.

Even more curious is that the Realtor.com listing for this house, under “property history,” indicates that the home was “delisted” on March 7, 2016. If that’s the case, why have we heard nothing about it from the Walkers, and why the contrary information on Trulia.com?

I have worked several years as an election official in the City of Madison. I do not claim to know all the answers, but I certainly see that the Walkers’ case for voting in

Wauwatosa, at least from their former home, is a tricky one. An alert election official would question the Walkers’ bona fides for voting in Milwaukee County. Do they intend to return to the house or not, or are they (now) maintaining it only as a voting address? Perhaps they should be gathering up the necessary materials to change their voter registration for this, and the next several elections, to Maple Bluff, Dane County, Wisconsin.

 

 

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