David King, a Republican candidate for Wisconsin Secretary of State, has issues with Assembly Bill 895/Senate Bill 640, a bill which if passed into law would have reformed Wisconsin election laws in a number of ways, including stiffening criminal penalties for those who engage in voter intimidation. In expressing his disapproval of AB895/SB640, King noted individuals could be charged with voter intimidation simply for, “standing in or near a polling place and simply observing” emphasis mine):
Also, if someone is charged with election fraud (which is almost impossible since we do not require a photo I.D.) they can be charged $10,000 and up to 3 1/2 years in prison or both. HOWEVER, if someone is charged with voter “intimidation” which could be as easy as standing in or near a polling place and simply observing, that person can be charged up to $100,000 and up to 3 years in prison or both. I.E. the penalties would be 10 times as harsh if you witnessed voter fraud as they would be for the person committing the fraud!
However, if David King had actually read AB895/SB640, he’d know that the bill actually made it very clear what would constitute intimidation of voters:
This bill provides that no person may make use of or threaten to make use of force, violence, restraint, or any tactic of coercion or intimidation in order to induce or compel any person to vote or refrain from voting or to refrain from registering to vote at an election, and no person may use or threaten to use force or violence or by use of any threat of any act of coercion or intimidation compel, induce, or prevail upon an elector either to vote or refrain from voting at any election for or against a candidate or question.
Reading that, I see mention of making use of (or threatening to make use of) “force, violence, restraint, or any tactic of coercion or intimidation,” but I see no mention of simply standing at a polling place and “observing” as a means of intimidating voters.
The fact that a candidate for the office of Secretary of State can’t seem to grasp the difference between voter intimidation and simply observing an election is not only mind-boggling but downright disturbing. If David King wants to serve as Wisconsin’s next Secretary of State, he should take a little more time to read bills before he decides to stick his foot firmly in his mouth by saying things that simply aren’t true.