By: Brian Sikma
In a feeble first attempt to look at the state of the election system in the City of Racine, Government Accountability Board election officials spent time during the August 14 primary reviewing the operation headed up by Racine City Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin. Johnson-Martin’s office violated state election protocol around the time of the June 5 recall election. Media Trackers and the MacIver Institute have found numerous irregularities and questionable activities that stem from or involve the actions of the city clerk’s office. The clerk herself improperly approved incomplete voter registration forms that did not completely declare proof of residence for the voters, and on election night several ballot bags were found damaged or tampered with. Responsibility for the integrity of the bags rests on the shoulder’s of the clerk and those she appoints to lead individual polling places.
Reid Magney, spokesman for the GAB said in a press release on Thursday, that the oversight trip was part of the board’s “Back to Basics” initiative, an election official education push that is designed to prepare workers for the November general election. Kevin Kennedy, the board’s director, said, “Our goal was to observe polling places to see whether there are additional things the Board can do in terms of training for local election officials across Wisconsin in preparation for the November General Election.”
Media Trackers noted earlier this week that the GAB disagreed with Janice Johnson-Martin’s assertion that as the clerk of the City of Racine she doesn’t have to follow every aspect of voter registration protocol. It remains to be seen whether or not the GAB will take seriously its role as an election oversight board and hold Johnson-Martin accountable for the debacle that took place on June 5.