Preliminary Findings of Joint Task Force
Investigating Possible Election Fraud

                                                May 10, 2005
A. Background

    On January 26, 2005, the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office formed a task force to investigate alleged voting irregularities during the November 2004 elections. The purpose of the task force was to determine whether evidence of criminal fraud existed in the irregularities and, if evidence of fraud was found, to pursue criminal prosecutions. A memorandum signed by the head of each of the agencies stated, “This task force is committed to conducting its work in a thorough, non-partisan manner.” The memorandum also indicated that federal authorities would not be involved in any evaluations of election procedures outside of potential criminal violations.

    Since the task force began its work, it has received further investigative assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General. The task force has also received assistance from Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley and his staff. As explained below, the task force work to date has focused on an examination of original records, primarily because data base information has proven unreliable and may not otherwise be admissible in court. This has involved the review of thousands of registration cards and the information contained on such cards. As a result, the task force, particularly members of the Milwaukee Police Department, has expended well over 1,000 work hours. The work has been slow, painstaking and is far from complete. Still, the task force commends the Milwaukee Police Department for committing these resources and particularly notes the investigative work conducted by Detective Michael Sandvick and Officers Neil Saxton and Michael Perez. We also specifically note the work of Investigator Aaron Weiss of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.

B. Summary of Findings

    Based on the investigation to date, the task force has found widespread record keeping failures and separate areas of voter fraud. These findings impact each other. Simply put: it is hard to prove a bank embezzlement if the bank cannot tell how much money was there in the first place. Without accurate records, the task force will have difficulty proving criminal conduct beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    With that caveat, the task force has made the following specific determinations based on evidence examined to date:

    1. The task force has developed evidence of more than 100 individual instances of suspected double-voting, voting in names of persons who likely did not vote, and/or voting in names believed to be fake. Those investigations continue.

    2. In addition, the task force has determined that more than 200 felons voted when they were not eligible to do so. In order to establish criminal cases, the government must establish willful violations in individual instances.

    3. Also, the task force has found that persons who had been paid to register voters as “deputy registrars” falsely listed approximately 65 names in order to receive compensation for the registrations. The evidence does not indicate that these particular false registrations were later used to cast votes.

    4. The number of votes counted from the City of Milwaukee exceeds the number of persons recorded as voting by more than 4,500.

C. Findings Related to Fraud

    Phantom voter identities/addresses/votes.
The task force has individually reviewed hundreds of names and addresses associated with the various data bases suggesting that thousands of people registered and voted using suspect names and/or addresses. To date, the investigation has concentrated on the 70,000+ same-day registrations. To date, we have found that a large majority of the reported errors were the result of data entry errors, such as street address numbers being transposed. However, the investigation has found more than 100 instances where votes were cast in a manner suggesting fraud. These include:

    1. Persons with the same name and date of birth recorded as voting more than once.

    2. Persons who live outside Milwaukee, but who used non-existent City addresses to register and vote in the City.

    3. Persons who registered and voted with identities and addresses that cannot in any way be linked to a real person.

    4. Persons listed as voting under a name and identity of a person known to be deceased.

    5. Persons whose identities were used to vote, but who in subsequent interviews told task force investigators that they did not, in fact, vote in the City of Milwaukee.

    Voter-drive fraud. In separate instances, persons who were paid money to obtain registrations allegedly falsified approximately 65 names on registration forms, allegedly to obtain more money for each name submitted. There is no evidence gathered to date that votes were cast under these specific false names.

    Felons. The investigation has found more than 200 felons who were not eligible to vote in the 2004 election, but who are recorded as having done so. Not all felons are ineligible to vote. In order for such action to constitute a criminal offense, the prosecution must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the felon was ineligible to vote under state law and that the felon knew that he or she was ineligible to vote. As a result of this standard, the task force is proceeding cautiously in its charging decisions and is evaluating each case on the individual facts. We note, however, that we have expanded our investigation to include felons who may have voted in suburban areas as well.

    In each of the alleged cases of potential fraud, the task force will not be releasing any further details in order to protect the integrity of the continuing investigation.

D. Vote Total Discrepancy

    An additional finding of the task force to date is that the number of votes cast far exceeds the total number of recorded voters. The day after the November 2, 2004 election, the City of Milwaukee reported the total number of votes as 277,344. In late November an additional 191 previously uncounted absentee ballots were added, for a total of 277,535 votes cast. Still later, an additional 30 ballots were added, bringing the total number of counted votes to 277,565. City records, however, have been unable to match this total to a similar number of names of voters who cast ballots – either at the polls (under a prior registration or same day registration) or cast absentee ballots. At present, the records show a total of 272,956 voter names – for a discrepancy of 4,609.

    The task force will continue to investigate this discrepancy. There remains an open question of how certain absentee ballots were handled or recorded. We further note that no geographic pattern exists for these over-votes, and multiple wards had discrepancies in excess of 100 votes. In addition, some wards had the opposite: more voters than votes. We believe that one explanation for this latter circumstance is that individuals were allowed to register and vote from a specific ward even though they were supposed to register and vote in a different ward. When a data base was later compiled, the voter name was moved to the correct ward, but the vote number remained in the incorrect ward.

    A further analysis of this situation continues, but the investigation is hampered by widespread record keeping errors with respect to recording the number of voters. At each polling place, the name and number of voters was supposed to be checked by two identical poll books, as well as by the voter number (the pink slip). In a preliminary analysis of individual wards, the task force has found: poll books that do not match voter numbers; voter numbers that were skipped; and voter numbers that were used more than once.

E. Additional Record Keeping Problems

    As indicated, the task force has been hampered by numerous instances of inadequate record keeping. Any criminal prosecution will depend on access to and the available use of original records accurately recording the names of voters and the corresponding vote numbers. As indicated above, records regarding vote numbers have been inconsistent and conflicting. In addition, for criminal purposes, proof of the identity of the person voting often is best established by the original (green) voter registration card. Yet in the November 2004 election, same-day registrations were accepted in which the card had incomplete information that would help establish identity. For example: 48 original cards for persons listed as voting had no name; 548 had no address; 28 did not have signatures; and another 23 cards had illegible information. These were part of approximately 1,300 same-day registrations for which votes were cast, but which election officials could not authenticate as proper voters within the City. Included in this 1,300 were 141 same-day registrants from addresses outside the City of Milwaukee, but who voted within the City of Milwaukee. In several instances, the voter explicitly listed municipality names other than Milwaukee on the registration cards. These included cards that listed “West Allis,” “Oak Creek,” “Ashland,” “Reedsburg,” and “Hayward.”

    Another record keeping procedure hampering the investigation appears to be the post-election misfiling or loss of original green registration cards that were considered duplicates, but that in fact corresponded to additional votes. These cards were used to record votes, but approximately 100 cards of interest to investigators can no longer be located. In addition, other original green registration cards continue to be found. As late as April of this year, an additional box of green registration cards was located by election officials.

F. Future Investigations

    Although many hours already have been undertaken, we realize that much more investigation is still to be done. There are many leads and interviews that still must be pursued. If individual members of the public believe that they have information on specific instances of election fraud, they are asked to call the Milwaukee Police Department, Election Task Force at 414-935-7802.

James Finch
Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Nannette Hegerty
Chief, Milwaukee Police Department
E. Michael McCann
Milwaukee County District Attorney
Steven M. Biskupic
United States Attorney

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