This is rich. The woman who heads Wisconsin Right to Life told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the robocalls we've been hearing about in today's recall primary were aimed at informing "friends and supporters" of the organization. They were supposed to encourage people to vote in the upcoming recalls (not today's primary), Lyons said. She denies they were calls to suppress the vote.
We think she's lying. We also think the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is too dumb (or biased) to catch her in the lie.
Here is the script of the call, as provided by Wisconsin Right to Life:
"Hello, this is Barbara Lyons from Wisconsin Right to Life. I'm calling today to let you know that you will be receiving an absentee ballot application for the upcoming recall elections in the mail in the next few days. These recall elections are very important and voting absentee will ensure that your vote is counted and that we can maintain a pro-family, pro-life state senate. We hope that we can count on you to complete that application and send it back to us within 7 days.
Since when does anyone other than a town clerk SEND an absentee ballot application in the mail? And since when does anyone RETURN an absentee ballot application to Wisconsin Right to Life? The applications have to go to the town clerk!
The Journal Sentinel reports,
In a telephone interview, Lyons said the calls, "as best as we know," were targeted to friends and supporters of the organization. She said tens of thousands of calls were made.
So that means tens of thousands of absentee ballot applications will be sent in the mail, right? Somehow we don't think so. Oh, and the people who are reporting the calls are Democrats.
The Journal Sentinel also reports,
Some voters noticed that the calls came from an area code traced to Virginia. Lyons said that was true, but that was because the vendor they hired to make the calls is based there.
Um, the "vendor" is the National Right to Life Committee.
Look, this is a transparent attempt to suppress the vote through election fraud. Ironic, isn't it, since Wisconsin's new voter ID law, passed by Republicans, is ostensibly an attempt to prevent election fraud?
One more thing: Here's what they do in Maryland when people pull this crap: They indict them. Last month, a grand jury returned felony indictments against two aides to a Republican candidate for governor.
On Election Day 2010, with the polls still open, computers placed calls to 112,000 voters in predominately African-American precincts in Baltimore City and Prince George's County with an unusual message: "Relax" and stay home. The recorded message did not identify the calls' sponsor; essentially, it told voters that Gov. Martin O'Malley had won and they did not need to vote.
A Baltimore grand jury recently returned criminal indictments against two aides to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., charging them with arranging the robocalls in a scheme to suppress voter turnout in heavily Democratic areas. One of the defendants, Julius Henson, also is among the targets of a multimillion-dollar civil suit filed by Maryland and U.S. officials.
Of course, an indictment is not a conviction, and defendants Paul Schurick and Mr. Henson will have their day in court. But just by bringing the charges, prosecutors and the grand jurors have sent a welcome and critical message to the state's political establishment: Voter suppression is not a clever political tactic; it's a crime and the state will treat it as one.
That's "felony," Ms. Lyons.
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