Voter caging is a dirty little trick that the Republicans around the country have been using for over half a century to purge voters - mainly African Americans - from voting lists. Here's how it works:
Voter caging is a practice of sending mass direct mailings to registered voters by non-forwardable mail, then compiling lists of voters, called “caging lists,” from the returned mail in order to formally challenge their right to vote on that basis alone. Other methods, such as database matching, have been used more recently to compile voter caging lists. The practice is used almost exclusively by officials or members of the Republican Party, local and national.
Wisconsin has not been spared from this crap.
In 2010, One Wisconsin Now broke the story of how Republicans, Americans for Prosperity and other Tea Party groups were conspiring to commit voter suppression - complete with a recording and transcription of their meeting discussing exactly how they were going to do it.
Earlier this year, documents from the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's illegal campaigning as Milwaukee County Executive revealed that Walker and his campaign were working with Walker's county staff to do voter caging.
It appears that since the US Supreme Court has stopped the Republicans from implementing their voter suppression laws in November, they are resorting back to this long time favorite act of denying people their right to vote.
Case in point, I received this mailer on Saturday:
I'll admit that when I got it, I didn't think much of it, although I did note that the person they addressed it to hadn't lived here for more than 15 years. I chalked that up to the Republicans' usual inefficiency.
Like I said, I didn't think much about this until I read this ominous statement from the Milwaukee County Elections Commissioner:
Milwaukee County Elections Commissioner Rick Baas added that the event’s attendees should all remain on the lookout for what he called a “really weird” phenomenon. “If people start to get mail at their homes around election time addressed to people who don’t live in that house, what you need to do is collect that mail and get it to me, so I can see if that person is registered to vote at your address,” he said. “Then we’ve got a case, a case Democrats say we don’t have.”
One thing that that the article doesn't mention is that Rick Bass is also an officer of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County as well as a realtor, a group that has been in the tank for Scott Walker.
To recap, the elections commissioner, who just so happens to be an officer of the Republican Party, warns people of "really weird" mailers addressed to people who don't live at that address. Then the Republicans send out really weird mailers addressed to people who don't live there. Then people are supposed to bring in said mailers and - voila! - proof of voter fraud! At the very least, it will give the right wing propagandists and radio squawkers their "proof" that voter suppression is necessary to contain voter fraud - even though said fraud consists of 0.000000031% of all votes cast since 2000.
I can't help but keep thinking about just how bad the Teapublican agenda really is that they have to go to such extremes to have even a chance of winning.