Civics: Elections, Open Records and Special Interest Spending Commentary

Dan O’Donnell:

Recently released emails reveal that last May, Racine Mayor Cory Mason emailed his fellow Democrat mayors in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, and Kenosha to set up a virtual meeting during which “the Elections Planning Grant will be discussed.”

That grant—from CTCL—was ultimately awarded to the five cities, which were dubbed “The Wisconsin Five.” In both Green Bay and Milwaukee, CTCL deployed a partner organization, the National Vote at Home Institute, to essentially take over the administration of the presidential election.

The National Vote at Home Institute’s Wisconsin director, Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, was given unprecedented access to ballot data and even ballots themselves and so thoroughly (and almost certainly unlawfully) took over Green Bay’s election planning that the city’s municipal clerk quit in disgust.

In Milwaukee, he demanded a daily email from the director of the city’s election commission with detailed statistics on which ballots had been returned and which were still outstanding. He was so brazen that he even asked for access to the city’s absentee ballot database.