The Wisconsin Government Accountability board is the agency in charge of enforcing election based rules in Wisconsin. Kevin Kennedy, the Director, used to lobby for Accenture systems and, in 2005, came under harsh scrutiny for offering Accenture a $13.9 million contract for a project Minnesota completed for under $5 million. Additionally, Kennedy has stated that it is a felony for any poll worker to hand count ballots to verify the machines as it “takes away from the confidence in the voting machines.” Furthermore, some of Wisconsin’s election integrity activists have been told they will be handed out felony chargesif they continue simply requesting that county and city clerks hand count the ballots to verify the machines.
While it is true the GAB is supposed to be non-partisan, it is not a stretch to think anyone would want to protect a former employer. Accenture Systems was bought out, by ES&S, but many of the same people are still on board. It would also not be a stretch to think Kennedy may have actual money in ES&S due to his loyal work for Accenture. Many people have wondered if Kevin Kennedy is truly non-partisan. There are signs to point either direction, both sides of the political spectrum have asked for his resignation. Perhaps the reason he can play the non-partisan card is that he truly is, but has a vested interest in making sure the election systems stay as proprietary and insecure as they are. This would, in fact, explain a whole lot and put Kennedy not on a partisan spectrum, yet simply on the side of whomever is screwing the elections. If people found out how insecure our machines really are, Kennedy may be out some money. Or even worse, Accenture could be holding something (a dirty secret perhaps) over his head threatening to release it if he doesn’t continue to protect their bottom dollar. While we don’t know for sure what Kennedy’s motives are, protecting ES&S does not seem like much of a stretch.
Yesterday, on May 26, Kevin Kennedy made an announcement. The announcement was that posting your ballot on Facebook or Twitter is a Class I Felony. That’s right folks, posting your ballot online can now be considered a felony. The law is Wisconsin State Statute 12.13(F) and it states:
(f) Shows his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot.
The intent of the law was to make it so people could not “sell” their votes. Some may say Kennedy is just reminding people of the law. He is not, in fact, reminding them of the law, he is strategically bringing out a red herring. Not a single person has been prosecuted under this law in the state. It is, in fact, a law many would call invalid due to a person’s First Amendment rights to free speech. But the issue goes deeper than that. It is a power grab intended to eliminate any shred of ability to show who voted for whom. Many elections have passed since this law was put in place. Never once has the GAB even mentioned it. The intimidation, however, seems to have worked. Both the Democratic Party of Wisconsin State Chair, Mike Tate and St. Croix County GOP Chairman Jesse Garza both removed pictures of their ballots upon finding out it may be illegal.
While the problem here is the GAB and intimidation tactics, there are also raised First Amendment concerns. When I get my ballot I assume that it is mine. It is my right to make any political statements I so well choose, even if that means proudly displaying my ballot for all to see. It is MY ballot, not the GAB’s and it is important now more than ever to stand up for this. With elections about as insecure as a paper lockbox, we need to be able to make the choice as to whether or not we want to post our ballots. The more power grabs we respond to, as Tate and Garza did, the less secure our elections become. I have decided to fight back. I posted a picture of my ballot (absentee) and encourage you all to look at it. I also took the liberty of filing a complaint against myself which you can find here. Surely if the GAB wants to bring the law up they must plan on enforcing it. This law is unjust and threatens our very freedoms. It has to be challenged.
With rights violations at an all time high and many police and government agencies making power grabs, it is up to us to stand against this. I am perfectly willing to go on trial for felonies, and argue this law as unconstitutional. So far I have been to court for over thirty-two arrests, one was a conviction, one was awarded in default (multiple court dates a week and you’re bound to forget one). Every single other offense I have been arrested for has been dismissed, over thirty arrests dismissed because they were unconstitutional. I am sure this one will follow suit. We must be ever vigilant as we continue fighting their many attacks.
One day longer! One day stronger!
Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. He rides a Segway due to a heart condition. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. He has been arrested over 31 times for silently filming or holding up a sign in the Capitol. He is also running for Wisconsin State Assembly in the 76th District.