FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts:
Jonathan Simon 617-538-6012
Sally Castleman 781-454-8700
The Government Accounting Board (GAB), apparently changing their regulations as they go along, has effectively shut down citizen-run exit polls in today's Democratic Primary Recall Election in Wisconsin.
Despite having the GAB Regulations ( - -5.35 (5), 7.37 (2) ) in hand plus a letter from Kevin Kennedy, head of the GAB, both clearly allowing exit polling, the GAB today, through GAB member David Buerger, has said that the group is "electioneering" because candidates names appear on the polling "ballot." He further dictated that no voter would be allowed to touch an exit poll ballot, that pollsters can only verbally ask the voters their responses. This despite the fact that Edison-Mitofsky, the polling company commissioned by the Media Consortium to conduct Exit Polling nationally over the last many years, uses written polling ballots that the voters fill in themselves.
The polls were being run by concerned Wisconsin citizens volunteering under the guidance of Election Defense Alliance and Protect California Ballots, two non-partisan organizations with the mission of restoring transparency to our elections. Both organizations have run non-partisan exit polls many times in the past in close to a dozen states. Neither group has ever been harassed in such a way before.
"This is reasoning beyond specious", said Jonathan Simon, Director of Election Defense Alliance. "Exit polling in this country has been going on for decades. To call it "electioneering' simply because candidates names appear on the poll ballot, when all names appear without any advocacy involved, is absurd. This is concealment in OUR elections. Public participation is being forbidden!"
"If exit polling has now conveniently been relabeled as "electioneering' this spells the end of exit polling in America and one of the last few mechanisms for evaluating the legitimacy of official vote counts," added Sally Castleman, National Chairperson of Election Defense Alliance.
"The implications for upcoming primary and general recall elections are of the utmost importance" said Simon. "This encroachment on the public right of observation and participation must be challenged forcefully and immediately."
"The irony of "Government Accountability' is beyond belief," Simon added.
Voters leaving the polling station in Menominee Falls were reporting to the pollsters that they were not being allowed to vote without photo ID. When one of the volunteers tried to explain that the law says a photo ID is REQUESTED but not REQUIRED for this election, the Village Clerk reprimanded her for "interfering."
In another related story, robo-calls, reportedly coming from Virginia, are being made to Democrats throughout the primary districts today telling them not to vote today because an absentee ballot is in the mail.