A Dane County Judge strikes again.
Madison — A Dane County judge on Monday ruled a state commission violated the open records law last year when it refused to quickly turn over information about a union election.
The elections are overseen by the commission and held over 20 days, with ballots cast over the phone and over the Internet. Unions want to monitor who is voting so they can encourage those who haven’t done so to cast their ballots.
The union Madison Teachers Inc. on Nov. 10 sought documents under the open records law that would show who had voted so far in the election that ran from Nov. 4 to Nov. 24. The commission’s chairman, James Scott, denied the request while the election was ongoing.
After the election — which the union won overwhelmingly — the commission released records showing who had voted.
The union then sued the commission, a three-member panel appointed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of Act 10.
The commission had to promptly make available information about who had voted because the records law requires documents to be produced “as soon as practicable and without delay,” the union argued in its lawsuit.
Anderson agreed the records were wrongly withheld. He said the matter was important to resolve because it could come up again this fall, when hundreds of public-sector unions will hold elections.
The commission maintained it could not release the records while the election was pending because doing so could result in “voter coercion.” It also contended releasing the records would undermine the secrecy of the ballots because non-votes are considered “no” votes.
If the union truly wanted to just “encourage” people to vote, they wouldn’t need a list. They would just run campaigns encouraging everyone to vote. If they are doing calls, then they can simply mark someone as having voted if they are told so. No, the union wants the ongoing list of who voted while the election is going on so that they can bully and intimidate people.