Media Trackers discovered that over 20 individuals voted, some illegally, from one of Senator Lena Taylor’s (D-Milwaukee) properties during the April 5, 2011 spring election. According to a Media Trackers open records request with the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, the property at 1018 N 35th St. in Milwaukee currently has 36 active voter registrations and at least 23 individuals voted using the address.
Media Trackers was tipped off to Senator Taylor’s property by the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, who found 11 individuals that registered on election day to vote from Taylor’s property, 7 of which were corroborated by Senator Taylor’s mother, Lena J Taylor.
“Using open records requests, we obtained copies of the 11,017 Milwaukee County Election Day Registrations and created a database to analyze the entries from all 19 municipalities in the county,” said Tim Dake of the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty. Dake explained further that “our volunteers ran numerous queries on the data and were surprised to see the name Lena Taylor appear on so many forms.”
According to property records obtained from the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Senator Lena C. Taylor owns the property at 1018 N. 35th St. in Milwaukee. The property has 6 units and is zoned by the Milwaukee Zoning Code as RT3. According to the City of Milwaukee Zoning Code, properties zoned RT3 are intended to “promote, preserve and protect neighborhoods intended primarily for two-family dwellings.”
According to records from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Senator Taylor’s mother, Lena J. Taylor, ran a delinquent and now defunct non-profit on the property called “Mama Delta’s Lovehouse.” The non-profit was allegedly a “homeless/temporary shelter” from February 2007 until March 2011, less than one month before the April 5, election. The organization was found delinquent in January of 2010, given a notice of dissolution in January 2011, and officially administratively dissolved as of March 15, 2011.
Despite the presence of the non-profit on the premises of 1018 N. 35th St., the City of Milwaukee Zoning Code reads:
H. Group Home, Group Foster Home, or Community Living Arrangement
h-2 If the use is located in an RS1 to RS6 or RT1 to RT3 district, not more than 8 clients shall reside on the premises. In all other residential districts, not more than 15 clients shall reside on the premises.
Even if Taylor’s mother’s delinquent and dissolved non-profit were an excuse for the number of voters at 1018 N. 35th St., housing 36 individuals would be a violation of the City of Milwaukee Zoning Code for the property itself.
The issue with Senator Taylor’s property does not stop at the exorbitant number of active voters or the number of individuals who used the address to vote on April 5. When Media Trackers began to look at the individuals that voted from Taylor’s property, questions began to emerge about whether voters were ineligible to vote and whether they actually lived on the premises, let alone the state of Wisconsin. One individual was a felon voter and another may reside in Chicago.
According to court documents, there are at least 3 other questionable registrations at Taylor’s property. These individuals list different addresses in court documents from previous years but it cannot be determined when they registered to vote from Taylor’s property.
The Ineligible Felon Voter
On election day April 5, Russell Collins registered and voted from the property in question. Senator Taylor’s mother even corroborated for Collins, claiming to be the owner of the property on Collins’ voter registration form. When Media Trackers searched the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program, it was discovered that Collins’ was convicted of a Class G Felony (theft of moveable property from person) on November 5, 2010 and sentenced to 10 months in a “house of correction” with credit for 98 days served. According to Collins’ Criminal Court Filing with the Milwaukee County Court:
Court advised defendant his voting rights are suspended, and he may not vote in any election until his civil rights are restored.
With no indication on his Criminal Court Filing that his civil rights have been reinstated, and the fact that Collins’ could not have served out the totality of his 10 month sentence by April 5 election, it raises questions about whether Collins’ voted illegally and whether Senator Taylor and her mother were complicit in this fraud.
Another individual, Mark E Lewis Sr., first registered to vote from Taylor’s property on November 4, 2008. Without voting at all in 2010, Lewis voted again from 1018 N. 35th St. for the April 5, election. But what is peculiar about Lewis is that just one month after the April 5, election, Lewis was cited for consuming food or beverage on a city bus. The rather benign citation aside, Lewis listed his address on May 4, 2011 as 4843 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois.
Leading to further questions about Lewis’ residency at Taylor’s property, on June 21, 2010, Lewis was cited for a host of charges including Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. In June of 2010, Lewis listed his address as 2933/37 W Wells St. Milwaukee, WI.
Either Lewis lived at 3 different residences and 2 states in the course of 11 months, the last move from Wisconsin to Illinois in less than one month, or Lewis used his active voter registration at Taylor’s property when he did not reside there.
Senator Lena Taylor wants to recall Gov. Scott Walker for what she believes is his misuse of power, but in this case she appears to have been an accessory to illegal voting activities. Furthermore, Senator Lena Taylor was an outspoken critic of the Photo ID bill, but if that bill had been in place it could stopped some of the potential voter fraud that took place from her property.
Just last week, Sen. Lena Taylor re-introduced legislation to extend the right to vote to felons and other convicts the moment they leave jail. But instead of waiting to change the law, Senator Taylor appears to have been an accessory to at least one voter breaking current election law as it relates to felon voting.
Just after the August recall elections, Senator Taylor wrote “when you assault the values and history of the Badger State, you will be held accountable.”
The scope of this scheme indicates that Senator Lena Taylor and her mother need to be asked very serious questions about how the property was used, and how it came to be that 36 voters, some felons still on extended supervision, and others who appear to possibly be from out of state, were registered to vote at the address. At best this is gross negligence that undermines the integrity of the election process, at worst it is an offense against the state of Wisconsin.
Using one of Senator Taylor’s favorite lines, is this really what democracy looks like?