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BS Alert: Mickey Mouse And Adolf Hitler Have Not Joined Scott Walker Recall Effort

There’s an almost irresistible story circulating on the internet that seems to suggest that petitions for the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have been signed by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler, and that those signatures will be counted in that recall effort. It’s the kind of story that makes for ideal two-minute filler on 24-hour news outlets, so before it gets a head of steam, let’s look beyond the overreaching headline (“Mickey Mouse, Adolf Hitler Allowed On Wis. Recall Petitions“) and vague copy, to what is actually a run-of-the-mill process story.

A reasonable person would conclude, from that headline, that the Walker recall petitions have, in fact, been signed by Messrs. Mouse and Hitler, and that those signatures will be counted toward the 540,208 needed to initiate a recall of the Governor. In reality, neither of those things is true. None of the signatures have been reviewed yet, and if Mouse and Hitler do pop up, they will only be counted if they provide a valid Wisconsin address, and are properly dated. Still, the copy beneath that headline isn’t at all clear in pointing this out:(emphasis mine)

The signatures of Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler will be counted on recall petitions targeting Gov. Scott Walker as long as they are properly dated and include a Wisconsin address, the board charged with reviewing the petitions was told Tuesday.

Suspicious signatures will be noted when the Government Accountability Board reviews the petitions, but reviewers will look to see that signatures are accompanied by a Wisconsin address and are dated as having been signed during the circulation period, board elections specialist David Buerger said.

“We will flag them, but we will not strike them without challenge,” Buerger said after being asked whether Mickey Mouse’s signature would be counted. He noted that in previous recall petitions, Adolf Hitler’s name was struck because the address given was in Germany, not because of the name itself.

The accompanying video report ironically notes that most of the $650,000 cost of the recall will be spent on “voter education, due to new voter id requirements.”

The Hitler/Mouse hypotheticals are the go-to cliche´s in stories that seek to create the false hysteria about voter fraud that fuels the wave of voter ID laws which threaten to disenfranchise millions of voters nationwide, the kind of hysteria that the mainstream media abetted in its treatment of ACORN. It’s the exact kind of hysteria that this story feeds, which makes this potential bit of cable news fluff deadly serious. Voter ID laws are pegged to the false idea that casting fictitious votes is simple and widespread, and by conflating voter fraud with voter registration fraud. This distinction was completely lost in the ACORN story, even though the organization was required by law to submit all registrations they received, and even though they flagged all suspicious registrations.

The result is an assault on voters’ rights unseen since the Jim Crow era, one which disproportionately targets Democratic constituencies, and a conservative electorate that has abandoned the principle of individual liberty in favor of cheap electoral gains. Voting is a right, not a privilege, and it ought to be the state’s burden to deny it, not the voter’s burden to claim it.

So when you see this Mickey Mouse story on your favorite 24 hour news outlet, don’t laugh. Do something.

Here’s the video report, from WISN Milwaukee:

Update: Politico seems to be playing along, saying that “Signatures of names like Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler are being considered valid on recall petitions of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as long as they are properly dated, a government board indicated Tuesday.” (emphasis mine.)

The right way to say that is “Signatures of names like Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler will be valid if submitted on recall petitions of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as long as they are properly dated, a government board indicated Tuesday.”

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