Group may create searchable database for petitions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Verify The Recall group may create searchable database for petitions


Some victims of domestic violence are upset tonight, after the Government Accountability Board decided to make recall signatures available through an online database yesterday.

Soon other organizations will have their own petition lists up, which could put
those victims even more at risk.

A volunteer group calling itself Verify The Recall is in the process of compiling its own database of names and addresses from the recall petitions.

But unlike the GAB's site, it may be much easier to find people on this one.

"I've got the different lines here and then I've got the text boxes up here that I can just start filling in the information," said Ross Brown, as he showed 27 News how Verify The Recall is loading information into its database.

Brown is one of 11,000 volunteers participating in Verify The Recall, which is an effort to spot fraud on petitions.

"There's certainly reports of people signing 80 times over or whatever it is and the response from either the GAB or the partisan groups out there was not satisfactory to a lot of Wisconsinites," said Brown.

So Brown's group is working to get all of the petition information entered into its own database and allow anyone in the state look for fraud.

Unlike the GAB's database, people will likely be able to visit Verify The Recall's site, put in a name or address, and then hit the search button to find it.

"We want to empower Wisconsinites to investigate their own corner of the world, to weed out some additional fraud to see if it is in fact there," said Brown.

But at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, they are far less concerned about convenience and far more concerned about the safety of their clients.

"If there were an online searchable database, with that increased access there would also be an increased risk for a victim who has someone who means to do her harm and is trying to gain access to her home address," said Tony Gibart, policy director for WCADV.

That's why victims' advocates hope groups like Verify The Recall will at least redact the names or addresses of people who request that.

Ross Brown says he will take whatever direction the Attorney General gives.

"We're gonna let them work through the details in terms of what needs to happen there," said Brown.  "If there are names that need to be redacted, or certain information that needs to be kept private."

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen gave advice to the GAB because its a government agency.

But Van Hollen's spokesperson says he is not in a position to provide direction to a private group like Verify the Recall."

That's why the Coalition Against Domestic Violence plans to contact Verify The Recall directly to discuss a possible solution.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Verify The Recall, a group of Tea Party advocates dedicated to exposing fraud in Wisconsin's recall petition gathering process, plans to put up its own database.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board decided on Tuesday to post 153,000 pages of petitions to recall Governor Scott Walker on its web site, despite privacy concerns from the victims of domestic violence.

But, the GAB's database is not searchable, making it difficult for anyone to find specific names and addresses.

However, Verify The Recall officials say they may make their database searchable, which could cause more concerns for domestic violence victims.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is talking to officials with Verify The Recall about that decision and will have a full report tonight on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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