Yesterday in Wisconsin, a hidden camera caught a certain Republican voter ID law advocate violating the assembly rules to cheat and vote for colleagues who were not present. This is also referred to as vote fraud.
This is your Wisconsin GOP, and you wonder why cameras are banned:
Rep. Kleefisch is among the gleeful cheaters. Assembly Rule 76.(5) states that only the members present in the assembly chamber may vote.
Yes, Virginia, vote fraud also occurs in legislatures. The Framers were concerned with making elected representatives accountable for their actions. How can they be accountable when they are not present? How can they be sure that the vote that was cast in their name is indeed the vote they intended to cast? (Assuming our representatives intend to take their jobs seriously and are not voting in Party lock step for ALEC.) Not all legislatures allow proxy votes. Vote fraud in legislatures can involve illegally casting votes while absent, sometimes referred to as “ghost voting” or vote rigging.
If this happened on a federal level, there would be holy hell to pay. One has to be on the floor to vote, that is why they hold votes open. A member has to be there to vote. The Republicans are manipulating the electronic voting machine in the chamber, casting votes for people who are NOT present. There was no absentee voting. This is against the rules of the assembly and constitutes vote fraud.
The fact that this fraud is being committed by a Party member who just pushed Voter ID laws because he was so worried about non-existent voter fraud only deepens the divide; if they care about election integrity, why don’t they care about legislative vote integrity?
But what really makes this so pitiful is their childish glee at cheating and the fact that cameras have been banned in their playhouse. Check out the Cheshire Cat grin:
It may be quite amusing to the frat boys, but those votes impact the lives of real people in Wisconsin. It’s not so funny to see your representative have someone else vote for them with no indication of if they even know this is happening. According to the Daily Kos, here’s a few of the issues the boys felt t was okay to violate their assembly rules on:
Yesterday, the votes were coming fast and furious as our legislature rammed through a lot of repugnant legislation, from removing development restriction on wetlands to removing the rights of women to sue for punitive damages in employment discrimination cases. They also voted to stop allowing high school seniors to register at their high school, and of course there was a whole lot of “get-tough-on-crime” legislation.
Given the vast corruption inherent in the Wisconsin Republican Party, vote fraud committed in chambers (while doing the duty of the people, no less) may pale in comparison but is assuredly a big deal under normal circumstances. It also speaks to the Wisconsin Republicans’ mindset and the lack of seriousness with which they approach a highly paid job “for the people” as well as the hypocrisy of their stance on voter ID laws.
Cue the Right wing outrage that an American citizen brought a camera into the playground and took video of the frat boys cheating, because the pressing issue of concern here is stopping citizens from forcing accountability from their government, not rogue elected officials breaking the rules of their own body with reckless abandon.
At the very least, this specific moment of a Republican elected official committing voting fraud on tape is indicative of a Party Gone Wild. And that doesn’t even touch the criminal investigations and charges swirling around them on other matters. Clearly, these Republicans feel no shame or fear of being caught. The rules mean nothing to them. The people cannot expect good government to come from elected officials whose motto is that they may break the rules but you may not.
Correction: This video was shot from the stairwell shooting through a window. No camera was brought into the gallery.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.