Lori Compas: Fake Democrats erode election integrity

Lori Compas‘ stance on the GAB’s decision to allow fake Democrats on the ballot is spot-on. Here is her statement in its entirety via Amanda Hall:

The Government Accountability Board’s decision to allow fake democrats to appear on the ballot in the democratic primary concerns me as a citizen, not as a candidate, because of what it says about the integrity of the electoral process.  This is not about the dates of the elections, this is about the integrity and honesty of our elections and like any voter, I am concerned.

My volunteers and I have been going door to door talking with voters about the upcoming election, and we’ve spoken with numerous voters who are confused by this fake candidate situation. Just this past weekend a woman asked me for some sort of proof that I was the “real” candidate. She asked me if the ballot would indicate which candidates were fake.

People need to be able to trust the information that appears on their ballots. That’s why we have statutes regarding election fraud.

On his official paperwork, Mr. Ellerman, the Lake Mills man who is forcing a primary in our district, claimed to be a Democrat when he’s actually a Republican. That’s a lie, plain and simple. The voters do not have time for these underhanded games.

If we allow a Republican to appear on the ballot as a Democrat, we’re saying that it’s acceptable to place false information on a ballot. This undermines citizens’ confidence in this process specifically and in government in general.

The honest answer would have been for these Republican candidates to simply run in the primary as Republicans. That would accomplish their goal of forcing a primary and delaying the election without the candidates having to falsify their official paperwork. It would accomplish their goal without falsifying the ballot. I think these candidates should be given a choice: run honestly, as Republicans, or withdraw from the race. It’s as simple as that.

(3) Prohibited acts. No person may:
12.13(3)(a) (a) Falsify any information in respect to or fraudulently deface or destroy a certificate of nomination, nomination paper, declaration of candidacy or petition for an election, including a recall petition or petition for a referendum; or file or receive for filing a certificate of nomination, nomination paper, declaration of candidacy or any such petition, knowing any part is falsely made.

Go, Lori, go!

Lori Compas: for those who value integrity

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23 thoughts on “Lori Compas: Fake Democrats erode election integrity

  1. Campas is egregiously wrong on her interpretation of the law ans has has no legal basis at all for her position. And, if you think about it her position is just silly. How exactly is the GAB supposed to determine whether someone is a “real” democrat or republican? Should have the GAB struck Joe Lieberman from the presidential ticket because many Democrats feel that he was not a “real” democrat and in fact he is now an independent. What we’re talking about is a slippery slope and it’s not the GAB responsibility to issue purity tests.

    That being said, I would suggest that we not have tax payer funded primaries at all. If party wants to have a primary it can do so at its own expense and administer its own purity test.


    1. When did all of the discussions surrounding Wisconsin politics begin to center around what’s legal? What happened to the importance of doing what’s right, what’s ethical?
      That’s the real problem here.

      1. Compas is citing, and misapplying a statute, in support her position. If she wants to discuss what she thinks is fair then that s a different discussion but she interjected to legality into the discussion and she’s wrong.

          1. For what its worth, as an independent, I dislike the primary system all together. I’d prefer to just see names on a ballot instead of an r or a d behind them.

            1. You bring up an important issue, Super Id. I’m independent from all political parties myself, but I recognize their right to organize and use collective bargaining.

              But where does it say that taxpayers should spend a red cent to support the political primaries? Primaries are by definition internal to the various political parties. Let them pay for everything in their primaries. I don’t care if they select their nominee through spin the bottle or witchcraft; that’s their business.

              How many times has someone lamented about the Big Two crowding out 3rd party and independent candidates? Private primaries could become the Great Equalizer. Think about it: the larger the organization, the costlier it becomes to hold primaries that so conveniently give them free TV face time. If the Big Two go behind closed doors, that gives smaller parties with only a single candidate, and candidates without a party a more favorable ratio of news coverage coming into a general election. And that would give them a far better chance than ever before.

    2. Isnt there a law that makes it illegal to lie to an election official? In these cases it seems pretty cut and dried. These ‘fake candidates” are clearly breaking that law.

    3. I tend to agree. I can’t imagine how you could ask the GAB to verify the truth of someone’s statement of party affiliation. What would that statute look like? It could easily be used to suppress candidates of all stripes. You think Paul Paulsen and Wavy Gravy and Arthur Kohl-Riggs shouldn’t be allowed to run, at all, because the GAB would turn to the party bosses to confirm whether or not they’re true Republicans or Democrats?

      As the GAB pointed out in their agenda for April 17, their hands are tied for the purposes of what they are asked to do. Wis. Stat. 8.21, the declaration of candidacy, does not require any statement of party affiliation. Although the nomination papers include a field claiming the candidate will represent a particular party, there is no litmus test to enforce that. You’re not required to show membership or any formal tie to a party. Wis. Stat. 11.05(3), the registration of a candidate, does not require any statement of party affiliation.

      The “fake Democrats” (Republicans) are pushing the envelope here, certainly. They are playing games. They want to force more Democratic spending and effort. They wanted to align election dates, but they didn’t want to do it by running more Republicans – because of course that causes a certain cognitive dissonance because they prefer conformity and unity of thought in their party and their candidates. They had a right way to do it, but they chose the incivil route instead. Maybe they’ll encourage Republicans to vote on the Democratic side of the ballot just to draw votes away from Democratic front-runners. I don’t think they’d stand a chance of eliminating them entirely.

      I don’t think it sits well with the public. It might get a few laughs among the Walker Walkers, but the taxpayers feel the brunt of it.

      I didn’t watch the proceedings. Did the GAB say they were acting on any complaints of mispresentation of Wis. Stat. 12.13(3)a, “falsify any information in respect to … a certificate of nomination, nomination paper, declaration of candidacy … knowing any part is falsely made.”? That would be done in closed session. When a candidate walks into the GAB, says they’re representing party A, then walks out the door and tells the public and the press they’re representing party B… that’s pushing the envelope of civility and credulity. It’s a far cry from the hypothetical freedom we might otherwise want to afford candidates who have a change of heart about party loyalties or party positions during a campaign. Of course, there’s all sorts of rotten subsidies that our laws give to enforce and maintain the two-party system.

      1. I didnt watch the proceedings either, and I would give huge leeway because we do not want any kind of litmust test, but that being said these people have made no secret of who they are and what they are doing.

        If they were doing what Riggs is doing that would be one thing but they have no intention of campaigning, running, discussing issues etc…

        One thing I have noticed through the years, is that people tell you who they are. These people have knowingly and publicly admitted that they are “falsifying information” so if these people do not get charged, what is the point of having the law and what are the standards to actually get charged?

        1. I look forward to the scanning and database-ification of the nomination papers for all the “fake Democrat” candidates. Are there any Republicans out there who would be willing to shame them for signing the papers of a Democrat? Certainly this must be a treasonous act.

          Most of the time both parties have a tough time even finding people to run for many races. They actively discourage and will not assist anyone who hints at running against an incumbent.

          As several people have pointed out in this thread, what’s the purpose of a primary? It narrows a field to two candidates. It encourages and maintains a two-party system. Has there ever been a moment when we would’ve benefited from a wider field of candidates?

      2. You think Paul Paulsen and Wavy Gravy and Arthur Kohl-Riggs shouldn’t be allowed to run, at all, because the GAB would turn to the party bosses to confirm whether or not they’re true Republicans or Democrats?

        I don’t think Jeremy Levinson was asking the GAB to apply a litmus test to determine if the party affiliation was “true.” He argues that there is ample evidence that the GOP placeholder candidates’ sole purpose is to manipulate the administration of the election. That evidence, he says, belies any reasonable claim that the candidates are exercising their First Amendment rights like Paulsen or Kohl-Riggs.

        1. I ask the question because so many are saying “But they’re not real Democrats” but they aren’t supplying even the outline of what a litmus test would look like.

          And the Republicans pretty much said that manipulating the election dates was their primary motivation, too, but perhaps not their sole reason, as they have mentioned the enjoyment of riling up the Democrats and forcing them to spend more money and effort.

          This trick may have been used before, but perhaps this will be an important test and reconsideration of it.

          1. Levinson said at the hearing that the complaint wouldn’t have been filed had the GOP hadn’t been so brazen, because it would’ve been difficult to prove the candidates weren’t just its muppets.

    4. On a common sense level she is absolutely correct. Most voters don’t care about the technicalities of this. They want to know who the real candidates are and why they are running. The fakes are confusing to everyone. Just because it is technically legal to run in a primary where you don’t belong doesn’t mean it is right. Politicians and lawyers might be used to this stuff, but the average voter just wants to vote for the person they think will do a good job.

  2. Uh, because they have publicly stated that they are republicans who are just running as democrats to insure the general election falls on June 5th.

    Hence the reason everyone refers to them as “fake democrats”.

    A think there was a real basis for a narrow ruling against them doing this. If they wanted to insure a June 5th election, they should have just forced a primary against their own party candidates.

    But ethics haven’t really been their strong suit.

    1. Karen makes an excellent point. When a candidate himself declares to the media (it’s documented as fact) that he’s running as a fake Democrat, well, there’s your evidence right there…Again, I’m not solely concerned with what’s legal, but with what’s ethical.

  3. The GAB seems to have their blinders on, since they’re laser-focused at only the partisan part of the issue. This isn’t about party affiliation, it’s about election fraud.

    While there’s no law prohibiting people from switching the political party they claim membership of, there is a law against filing false documents with criminal intent. Like to gain partisan advantage in election dates, for example.

    Source: Chapter 12.13 Part 3 of the Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations “(e) Prepare or cause to be prepared an official ballot with intent to change the result of the election as to any candidate or referendum

    1. What’s the filing of a false document? Claiming that they will run as a democrat when they were really a republican. The law doesn’t require any declaration or swear to an oath of loyalty to a particular party. The fact is that we have protest candidates all of the time.

      The law does, however, require a candidate to certify the following, if any of these are untrue then you have a case for election fraud:

      (a) That the signer is a candidate for a named office.
      (b) That the signer meets, or will at the time he or she assumes office meet, applicable age, citizenship, residency, or voting qualification requirements, if any, prescribed by the constitutions and laws of the United States and of this state.
      (c) That the signer will otherwise qualify for office if nominated and elected.
      (3) The declaration of candidacy shall include the candidate’s name in the form in which it will appear on the ballot.
      (4) Each candidate for state and local office shall include in the declaration of candidacy all of the following:
      (a) A statement that the candidate has not been convicted of any misdemeanor designated under state or federal law as a violation of the public trust or any felony for which the candidate has not been pardoned.
      (b) A statement that discloses the candidate’s municipality of residence for voting purposes, and the street and number, if any, on which the candidate resides.
      (5) The declaration of candidacy is valid with or without the seal of the officer who administers the oath.
      (6) A candidate for state or local office shall file an amended declaration of candidacy under oath with the same officer or agency if any information contained in the declaration of candidacy changes at any time after the original declaration of candidacy is filed and before the candidate assumes office or is defeated for election or nomination.

      1. Super Id, the answer is far more simple than that. It’s so simple that you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it right away.

        Let’s imagine that a Fake Democrat wins the Democratic nomination in the primary, goes on to the general election, wins that and becomes Governor of Wisconsin (or State Senator, as the case may be). Nothing wrong with that, right? Right!

        The thing is that that scenario will never happen. Why? Because the Fake Democrat is only there to be a spoiler, not to be a winner. If, God forbid, a Fake Democrat makes it to the general election, that Fake Democrat will find some excuse to drop out of the race and endorse the Republican incumbent. In other words, they’re not really running for office!

        Declaring the intent to win a public office when you don’t really have that intent is election fraud, plain and simple. The declaration itself is the smoking gun!

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