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Further Comment on the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Lawsuit

Date: 
September 11, 2008

MADISON, WI – In response to news media inquiries about a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), G.A.B. Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy issued a follow-up statement:

“The members of the Government Accountability Board and I believe it is inappropriate to debate in the media the merits of a lawsuit that has been recently filed against the Board by the Attorney General of Wisconsin.

“The Board will present its case to a judge who will decide the matter. As of this morning, we have asked the Governor to authorize appointment of a special counsel to represent us. In the meantime, the Government Accountability Board will not participate in a trial through a public relations campaign.

“The Board is committed to properly protecting the electoral process from potential fraud. At the same time, the Board is equally committed to protecting the right of every eligible person to vote in Wisconsin, and that every valid vote must be counted.

“The Board balanced these two fundamental concerns and concluded that it is in the best interest of the citizens of this state to implement its cross-checking efforts going forward from August, rather than going back and subjecting individuals who have been registered since the creation of the new state vote list to further scrutiny, and have voted in as many as seven elections since then.

“We welcome and look forward to the opportunity to present the facts of this case in a court of law. The Board will present the facts to a judge at the appropriate time, in an appropriate setting. The Board believes it would be counter-productive to rush this effort and to create a significant risk, at best, of unnecessary hardship and confusion at the polls, and at worst, the disenfranchisement of Wisconsin citizens with a clear and legitimate right to vote.

“Our Board is a distinguished body of former judges, trained and experienced in objectively weighing all sides of an issue before making a decision. Further, the Board members are non-partisan and were selected in a non-partisan nomination and appointment process by the Governor and Legislature.

“The formation of the Government Accountability Board is the most recent chapter in a long history of non-partisan election administration in Wisconsin dating back almost 35 years. The Attorney General’s action will not distract the Board and its staff from the important responsibility of preparing for November 4 General Election in collaboration with our election partners, Wisconsin’s local officials.”