Voter Distrust

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

On Madison's State Street Thursday afternoon, "There's somethin' happenin' here ..." had almost nothing to do with the first words of a Buffalo Springfield song.

"Ohio was certainly, unquestionably stolen in 2004," said David Hammond, State Street walker, "I think the biggest constitutional crisis this country is facing right now, is the midterm elections."

A new AP poll shows 40 percent of American voters are not confident their votes will be counted correctly.

And soon-to-be voters in Madison also have mixed feelings about how much they trust the process.

"I'm not concerned at all," said Kacy Gadberry. "I think I have trust in the legal ... the legal implications of voting."

"States are concerned about it, the government's concerned about it," said Mike Ring, "so there must be something going on."

"I would hope so," said Alissa Schneeberg, "that is my intention when I go to the polls is that my vote will count."

"I'm absolutely concerned about voter fraud," said Jon Mohoney.

According to the poll, the mistrust is more common among democrats.

55 percent from that party didn't have complete faith in their votes counting.

It's worse among blacks.

70 percent of African Americans say they distrust the voting process.

"We don't have the same problems that you see in Ohio and Florida," said Jay Heck, Wisconsin Commmon Cause. "We don't have 'chads.'"

Heck says he's not surprised a large number of Americans distrust the system.

But he says Wisconsinites have much less to worry about than voters in other regions.

"Compared to other states, I think we're in decent shape," said Heck. "Is there room for improvement? Absolutely."

Heck works for a political watch-dog group and says state laws that mandate a paper trail for all electronic voting in Wisconsin, is one of many reasons why voters in the Badger state can feel good about the votes they cast this November.

"By and large I think people can go to the polls with a fair amount of confidence," said Heck.

Heck says he's not worried about voter distrust turning people away from the polls.

He says it's the negative attacks ads most of the candidates use that are much more likely to turn people away.

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