Michels says address error on nomination forms ‘inadvertent’ in affidavit to Elections Commission

Tim Michels announces his run for Wisconsin governor

MADISON, Wis. — Representatives for Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels have submitted an affidavit to the Wisconsin Elections Commission saying an address error on his nomination papers was not an attempt to mislead voters about where he lives.

In the affidavit filed Monday, Michels said he learned on June 5 that the 4,000 signatures his campaign submitted to the Wisconsin Elections Commission were on two different forms. One form listed Michels’ address as being “at 6831 State Road 83, Hartland, WI 53029, in the village of Chenequa,” while another form that contained the vast majority of signatures — 3,516 of the 3,861 collected — listed his address as “6831 State Road 83 in the village of Chenequa.”

A challenge to Michels’ nomination papers filed over the weekend by a Wisconsin voter — and backed by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin — argued that state law says candidates must use their full mailing address on nomination forms. They claim the forms that did not include a ZIP code should not be considered as listing a valid mailing address, therefore invalidating all signatures on those pages and leaving Michels well short of the minimum of 2,000 signatures needed to appear on August’s primary ballot.

RELATED: Challenge claims Michels does not have enough valid signatures to get on Gov. primary ballot

In the affidavit filed to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Michels says the form with the incomplete address information was inadvertently uploaded to the campaign’s website for public use and dissemination, and they had intended for the form with the complete address information to be the one uploaded to the site to be used by circulators collecting signatures.

Michels says his campaign did not learn of the mistake until after the nomination papers were submitted to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The deadline for candidates to collect signatures was June 1.

Michels says he believes he has received mail at the address listed without the ZIP code before, alluding to his belief that it is still a valid mailing address.

“At no point have I or the Campaign sought to mislead any voters or signatories to my nomination papers about the location of my primary residence,” Michels wrote in the last line of the affidavit.

That assertion differs from the tone his campaign used over the weekend when addressing the challenge, when they called it “frivolous” and a “sideshow.”

State Democrats criticized the Michels campaign in a statement Tuesday afternoon, arguing the Wisconsin Elections Commission should “hold the Michels campaign accountable.”

“Apparently millions of dollars couldn’t buy Michels a competent enough campaign operation able to comply with the absolute basics of the law,” Wisconsin Democratic Party executive director Devin Remiker said in a statement.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is scheduled to finalize candidate ballot placement for the August primary, including whether they will allow Michels on the ballot, during a meeting Friday morning.