A recount in [the Wisconsin Supreme Court] race... seems inevitable, and it is not clear who will ultimately take the seat on the Wisconsin bench. But if this expensive and nasty race ends up in protracted litigation, it could undermine public confidence in both the judiciary and Wisconsin’s electoral process, especially if, as I expect, supporters of Prosser raise ugly allegations of voter fraud....Don't dare say fraud!
While the fraud allegations [in various recent elections] remain stuck in the public’s mind, no proof of any systemic fraud has been unearthed. Instead, close examination of elections show, time and again, that our election systems are not perfect – but this is due to human error and not fraud....To become contentious and partisan? It's been ridiculously contentious and partisan here in Wisconsin since mid-February. It's hard to understand why the Republicans should stand down now. Prosser was way ahead and would have easily won if Democrats hadn't turned what was supposed to be a nonpartisan election into a referendum on the Republican governor they hate. It took Prosser a long time to realize he had to fight like a politician and not just sit quietly modeling traditional judicial demeanor. Outrageous, dirty politics was played against the old jurist, and he had little idea what to do about it. Now, his advocates are supposed to play nice so things won't get ugly? We've been in uglyville since February.
[I]f the Wisconsin Supreme Court race goes into extra innings, I expect things to become especially contentious and partisan.
If Kloppenburg can eke out a victory, I wouldn’t be surprised if Prosser supporters play the fraud card. Professor Ann Althouse already raised the specter of fraud in her final post on election results last night. I am sure that others will trumpet now-discredited allegations of voter fraud in Wisconsin, especially about alleged fraud in heavily Democratic and minority communities.Now discredited? See, that's the meme among Democrats. There is no fraud. You're not even supposed to talk about "[t]he possibility of some fraud" — which was the phrase I used in my 11:55 p.m. post on election night. Note that I wasn't even making an accusation. I was just trying to sign off and go to bed. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day. But the mere mention of fraud triggers the reaction: Don't talk about fraud! Fraud?! There is no fraud! Everybody knows there is no fraud, and anybody who mentions it is, by that mere mention, an agent of discord and deceit. This is an effort to delegitimatize the very interest in the problem of fraud. I expect a label to emerge, a label like "birther." Ugh! She's a frauder.
In the last decade, the now-defunct Americans for Voting Rights focused on such spurious and grossly exaggerated claims out of Wisconsin, which Lorraine Minnite has methodically debunked. But that won’t stop the allegations from resurfacing, and be taken credibly by those who want to believe it.So... because past claims of fraud have been "methodically debunked" — have they? — we should stop even looking for fraud? We'll only suffer if we keep checking for cheaters? This sounds way too preemptive to me. I've spent the last 2 months in a vortex of political ugliness and saw it grafted onto the judicial election. I saw frantically impassioned protesters grasping at the symbolism of this election and building an intense shared feeling of entitlement to shift the politics of this state. I heard the phrase "by any means necessary" more than once.
It is the voters of Wisconsin and those who depend upon the state supreme court’s system of impartial justice who are sure to suffer.
In this context, Prosser proponents have every right to drag us through the search for fraud one more time. I hope they don't find it, and Professor Hasen can add this new example to his next there-is-no-fraud column. But there's a 204 vote margin in this crazy election. We need to feel confident that the outcome is correct.
UPDATE: Hey, suddenly Prosser is ahead in the vote tally. I wonder if the fraud poo-pooers are singing a different tune now.