- Views & Opinions
For years Wisconsin Republicans have trumpeted the unproven charge that voter fraud is rampant in the state — an accusation they use to promote efforts to enact voter ID laws. Good government groups, however, argue that such laws, along with Republican policies that have drastically reduced the hours polls are open, make it disproportionately more difficult for poor people, minorities and students to vote.
All of those constituencies tend to vote Democratic.
But the worst case of voter fraud in the state’s history turns out to have been committed by a staunch Republican, investigators allege. Thirteen counts were filed against Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive. Each count carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in forefeitures and three-and-a-half years in prison, WisPolitics.com reported
Monroe is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it’s the worst case of multiple voting in memory, according to a story that appeared in Salon.
The online news magazine reported that Monroe voted twice for Alberta Darling in her 2011 recall, and five times for Walker in the June 2012 recall, using his own name, his son’s name and his son’s girlfriend’s name.
In the November presidential election, Monroe voted first in Shorewood, then again in Lebanon, Indiana, where he also owns a home. It was the vote he cast in Shorewood using his son’s name prompted that prompted the investigation.
Although there’s no way of knowing exactly for whom Monroe voted, he gave money to both Darling and Walker.
Monroe contends that he had temporary amnesia due to attention-deficit disorder and doesn’t remember anything about the elections.
A federal judge threw out Wisconsin’s voter ID law in April after finding no evidence of voter fraud in the state. “The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman.
Now Republicans are blaming Monroe’s fraud on Democratic opposition to their voter ID law, which they say would have prevented it. But some studies have suggested the law would actually head to more fraud while disenfranchising the poor.