Wisconsin Republicans are saying they are not behind a voter fraud allegation tied to a phone number registered to the party.
A spokesman for the state GOP said allegations that the party told people who signed the recall petitions that the signature counted as a vote was false. The allegation is one of two state Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) sent to state election officials Tuesday morning in a request for an investigation. Taylor also asked the state to look into claims that calls were made telling people that the recall election was Wednesday.
"If these allegations prove to be true, the GOP had nothing to do with it," state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks told HuffPost.
Taylor said that she does not know if the GOP was behind the call but thinks it was supporters of Gov. Scott Walker (R) who know Walker could lose to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in Tuesday's recall vote.
She sent a letter to the state Government Accountability Board this morning asking for an immediate investigation into the two allegations. She said that voters have received calls directing them to vote Wednesday and telling them petition signatures counted as votes. Taylor told HuffPost she was not sure how widespread the cases are throughout the state, but that she and her staff were continuing to gather more information about the allegations. She noted they have been spreading through social media since Monday.
"It is nonsense," Taylor said. "It is the desperation. I want the GAB to investigate."
Staffers at the Wisconsin Education Association confirmed to HuffPost that they have heard similar messages going to voters but they did not know the origin of the messages or how widespread the rumors are. In her letter to the GAB, Taylor said that the calls regarding the petition signatures came from a Madison-area phone number. A call placed to that number came back with a voicemail saying the caller had reached the Wisconsin Republican Party.
"They know Tom Barrett has the momentum," Taylor said. "We have a record number of individuals voting."
The phone number is not the main listed number of the state GOP. The phone is used by the GOP for phone-bank purposes, including recent phone banks for the Tuesday recall.
Sparks said any false information was provided by a "third-party organization" not connected to the state GOP or the Walker campaign. He said the party wants the GAB to investigate the issue as well.
GAB spokesman Reid Magney said that the agency has received Taylor's complaint, and that it is similar to ones received during every election in the state. He said the agency is aware of the calls but does not have plans to investigate them at this time. He said that if the origin of the calls is provided to the board, an investigation may be started. He believes voters will not believe the false information, said Magney.
"We expect voters to be smart enough not to trust information from robocalls or stray emails," Magney told HuffPost. "They will relay on trusted news sources, the local clerk and the GAB.'
Magney said that based on the laws cited in Taylor's letter, jurisdiction may lie with a county district attorney and not with the GAB. He said the agency can refer the case to a district attorney's office, if there is information on who is responsible for the calls.
Taylor said she is confident of a Barrett win, noting high turnout in Milwaukee and in the Madison region. She also noted that she is concerned some of the calls she's heard about have been in heavily minority neighborhoods.
"The fact that is has happened in such an urban area, I think it is that they are desperate," she said.
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