UPDATED: Lena Taylor Faces Voter Fraud Charges
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.
Of the 36 registered voters at that address, about 20 voted in the April 5 election for county executive and a state Supreme Court seat, records show. And 11 of those individuals registered to vote on election day.
Staffers at Media Trackers raised questions regarding several of the same-day registrants, including Russell Collins, 44, of Milwaukee. Records show Collins was convicted of a Class G felony for theft last year, and he was still doing work-release at the County Correctional Facility-South at the time of the April election.
Felons are prohibited from voting in Wisconsin elections until they complete their sentences, including probation, work-release or parole.
"Last week, we saw Sen. Taylor introduced legislation that would allow felons the moment they leave jail to vote," said Brian Sikma, a spokesman for Media Trackers. "But looking at what we found, it looks like she didn't even wait for the law to change. She was, in fact, an accessory to one felon voting on April 5 when that individual, whenever that person was ineligible to vote under Wisconsin statutes."
In addition, Sikma pointed to city zoning records that suggested the group home should house no more than eight individuals. He said the senator should have known the group home was out of compliance with city zoning rules.