What it means: Wisconsin election administrator Nat Robinson is leaving G.A.B.


I see that Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board will see off election administrator Nat Robinson on December 31, 2012. Who would like to wager that Robinson’s replacement will rubber stamp Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate same-day voter registration?   I’m just kidding.  Nobody’s fool enough to take that bet.

It seems Mr. Robinson didn’t resign, but instead was led to the door.

Nat Robinson at a 2001 Great Lakes Commission event

Take a look at this G.A.B. memo penned by Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the WI G.A.B.:
“Nat’s passion for customer service and innovation has helped improve election administration in our state. However, I believe it is time for a change in leadership in the Elections Division, and the Board Members fully support my decision.”

You’re probably well aware that Scott Walker recently floated the idea of halting same-day voting registration in Wisconsin.

Isn’t it funny how he said we should do that to help out the clerks and then Wisconsin’s former clerks association president said his idea “would be a logistical nightmare”?

It would also keep A LOT of people from voting.

If Walker and company eliminates same-day registration, then provisions in federal Help America Vote Act law kick in that require election workers to check all voter registrations against a statewide HAVA list.

Back in 2008, outgoing G.A.B. official Nat Robinson noted that 2/3 of the judges weren’t on the WI HAVA list. He said that “..long-time voters and well-respected former judges, could have been forced to vote on provisional ballots.”

That same list couldn’t come up with 1 in 5 voters during a 2008 test run.

Under HAVA law, those who do not come up on the list get provisional ballots that are then no good unless the voters come back on a 2nd trip with back-up documents to verify whatever it was that didn’t match. More often than not what caused the mismatch during the 2008 test were misspellings, maiden names, change of address, and misplaced punctuation.

Nat Robinson’s opinion on the HAVA matter diverged from the less reasonable individuals [understatement of the year] over at the Republican Party of Wisconsin who pushed G.A.B. to implement the HAVA check even while in person same day registration practices were in place.

Based on the loving farewell Robinson received when he left an earlier job as Chair of the Great Lakes Commission he isn’t a shrinking violet:

“Few would
deny that Robinson has brought a unique style
as chairman, bringing an extraordinary degree
of passion, energy and commitment to the role,
and a sense of playfulness as well – who can
forget the endless variety of hats he would don
at Commission meetings in support of points he
wanted to make? Bold in his approach to the job,
he brought with him a big spirit, a big personality
and – as he will be the first to admit – a big ego.
But he is also a man of big ideas and brought the
scale of his vision to the Commission.”

I wonder how hard it is for a logical and assertive man to work at the G.A.B under Walker nowadays?

I also wonder how awkward it would be if G.A.B. board members like Robinson began to publicly  protest the power-crazed right wingers on the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules when they reverse G.A.B. decisions.  Not that I know anything here – — I’m just wondering.

Will you apply for Nat’s job? Can you?
If you’d like to apply for Nat’s old job, get right on it. The deadline for your application is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2012. More information is here.

Be forewarned that nobody who’s signed a recall petition may apply.

“..The G.A.B. has adopted a policy of not hiring anyone who has signed a recall petition for a state officeholder in 2011 or 2012.”

In addition, you may not have been a lobbyist, or served in a partisan government post, or have contributed to a partisan campaign for the last 12 months.

Assuming you are 1 of the 5 or so Wisconsinites who qualify for the job, I wish you luck.

Continued reading on Wisconsin and HAVA:
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sued the G.A.B. in 2008 in an effort to force the HAVA check on all registrations. At the time he was the state co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign. source: Van Hollen’s voter-check lawsuit sets off a tempest M.J.Sentinel

“No Match” Dropped After 4 of 6 Judges Fail source: Brennan Center for Justice

FAQ:Help America Vote Act Wisconsin State Elections Board:
Provisional Voting – Section 302(a) – Compliance Deadline: January 1, 2004
• Wisconsin is exempt from this requirement because it has a system of election day
registration that permits a voter whose name does not appear on the poll list to register
at the polling place. Under current law, a voter must provide proof of residence or have
the registration application corroborated by an elector of the municipality who has proof
of residence.

HAVA on wikipedia



  4 comments for “What it means: Wisconsin election administrator Nat Robinson is leaving G.A.B.

  1. December 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    More important than HAVA, which was signed by Bush and is clearly a move in the direction of voter suppression (in my opinion), is the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and all of the requirements that WI will have to implement the minute they do away with Election Day Registration. We, the people, will have to hold the administration to task on these points, I guarantee it…

  2. November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I have applied for this position.

  3. Jim Mueller
    November 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    BlueCheddar, The HAVA checks- thank you for reminding us about that aspect of the long term concerted effort by the Republicans to undermine the accessibility and the integrity of our election system

  4. Jim Mueller
    November 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    The Republicans did away with corroboration as a way of proving

Comments are closed.