15 Sep 2014
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Man Says His Name Forged on Recall Petition

The man believes his neighbor forged his name and others on petitions to recall Van Wanggaard. Sheriff's Department is investigating.

Man Says His Name Forged on Recall Petition

Updated 4:10 p.m. Feb. 6

Recall organizers turned in 1.9 million signatures to recall four state senators, the governor and lt. governor. That number is far greater than the minimum needed to bring about the recall elections. 

Since before the signatures were turned in, conservative groups worried that not enough would be done to ensure the signatures on the petitions were valid — that they were from people eligible to vote, and that those who signed actually signed it themselves.

Supporters of the six legislators facing recall are checking the signatures, running them through courts databases to weed out felons still serving their sentences, determining if addresses really exist and questioning names like "Ronald McDonald."

The Journal Times reported some of the people working at the Racine County Victory Center are flagging signatures that may be for people who really live out of state, or who did not fill the petitions out correctly. One woman said she was flagging signatures where the handwriting of the person who wrote the date and address do not appear to be the same. 

Caledonia resident Marge Orth told the JT that while she isn't sure what the result of her work will be, "You have to question it. We'll let the lawyers figure it out."

The Root River Siren, a liberal Racine County blogger, attacked the JT article, saying it didn't do enough explain why the questionable signatures were still in the mix

Yet, the Siren wrote, committees in possession of petitions had to turn them in, and the committee could not disregard the legal intent of a signer just because he or she did not fill it out entirely or correctly. The Siren also noted that these arguments aren't new: They're the same ones Democrats tried last year, when it was their legislators facing recall. And it didn't work. 

But that's not to say there aren't problems. 

Jason Adams of Racine contacted Caledonia Patch last week and said he found his name on a petition to recall Sen. Van Wanggaard, though he never signed one. He believes his neighbor Mark DeMet forged his signature — and suspects that neighbor may have forged signatures of other neighbors and family members. TMJ4 found members of DeMet's family claim the same thing. DeMet wasn't home when TMJ4 went to his house.

Adams told Patch he doesn't understand why his neighbor would have done this.

"I had a nice conversation with (Mark DeMet) this summer about Walker," Adams said. "I told him what I thought, which was the opposite of what he thought. There was no anger there."

Adams plans to look for his name on Walker petitions as well, he told Patch.

"A number of companies said by the beginning of (this) week they will have a searchable database," he said.

Adams sent an email to the Government Accountability Board about his suspicions, and they said he should report it to police.

Racine County Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Tom Lamke confirmed Monday that the department is looking into allegations of irregularities on petitions circulated by DeMet. He said Adams has not contacted the Sheriff's Department yet.

Lamke said that investigators are talking with a number of people whose names are on the petitions that Demet circulated, that the investigation is "already branching out" and that there are other names that are being looked at. However, Lamke wouldn't confirm the number of signatures they are trying to confirm.

He said the department is contacting other people whose names appear to be potentially fraudulent, and trying to confirm whether or not they signed the petition.

If criminal charges are issued, Lamke said, it could be a felony with up to three years imprisonment (which could be time in prison or on probation) and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Caledonia Patch Local Editor Denise Lockwood contributed to this report.

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