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MADISON - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement this afternoon in response to the Milwaukee Police Department's report on the 2004 general election that was issued today:
Yesterday afternoon, investigators from the Milwaukee Police Department delivered to me a copy of the Department's Report of the Investigation into the November 2, 2004 General Election in the City of Milwaukee. The report's detailing of election irregularities in 2004 is extraordinarily troublesome. It is, unfortunately, not surprising.
The right to vote is the most fundamental of all political freedoms. But it isn't simply the right to vote that protects our democracy; it is the right to vote in fair elections, untainted by election fraud. Make no mistake. The dilution of one's lawful vote through the unlawful casting of ballots is a dilution of the most fundamental of our political freedoms.
In Wisconsin, enforcement of the election laws is a multi-agency responsibility involving the Government Accountability Board's Election Division, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Prior to the release of this report, we at the Department of Justice have been in regular communication with the Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee prosecutors concerning compliance with the state's election laws. I have also established a working group of attorneys and investigators to assist our partners as the 2008 general election approaches.
In addition to enforcing the laws we have and facilitating compliance with those laws, new laws would help. As I testified before the legislature last year, I continue to believe that requiring photographic identification at the polls is the best way to ensure against voter fraud. Law should make voting easy. But laws should not make illegal voting easy.
This problem must be examined at the national level as well. To that end, I have joined a task force of attorneys general from throughout the country to address issues relating to election integrity.
I am committed to safeguarding the right to vote, and I will continue to actively work with my public agency partners in our mutual mission to enhance election integrity.