Janesville company analyzing recall petitions

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Thursday, February 9, 2012
— Workers at a Janesville company are playing a key role in the gubernatorial recall controversy.

Workers at Data Shop Inc., or DSI, are reading copies of the recall petitions and entering the names onto a database, under contract with the state's Government Accountability Board.

DSI received digital copies of the petitions and has been working on the project since last week, said Reid Magney, spokesman for the GAB.

The Gazette was not able to reach DSI officials for comment Wednesday.

Magney said that "at this point," the work is being done only on the petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker, not on the petitions calling for the recall of the lieutenant governor or four Republican state senators.

The names are on 153,000 pages, some containing as many as 10 names, some as few as one, Magney said.

The only information to be entered into the database is the name of each person who signed the petitions, Magney said. The GAB will use the information to find duplicate names, as ordered by a judge.

The work is likely to produce lists of different people who have the same name, Magney acknowledged, and it's up to the GAB to go back to the petitions to figure out which are truly duplicates.

The database will not be used to find bogus names, such as Mickey Mouse or Buggs Bunny, or other suspicious names, Magney said. That work is being done by GAB workers.

The database also won't be used to determine whether people signed the petitions by using another person's name, or some other fraudulent signing.

It's up to the Walker supporters to challenge the possibly fraudulent names, Magney said.

The GAB has budgeted $75,000 for the work. What DSI earns depends on the amount of work done, Magney said.

There was no time to put the job up for bids, so the GAB used a procedure called piggybacking to select DSI, Magney said.

DSI already has a contract with another state agency and has performed satisfactorily, so the GAB piggybacked onto the existing contract.

Magney didn't know which other agency or agencies DSI has worked for.

DSI is expected to complete its work in about four weeks. Magney said the database would be released to the public. How and when has not been determined, he said.

DSI describes itself as "one of the leading data conversion services in the upper Midwest."

The company's website says it has served more than 750 businesses since 1981.

The company boasts "highly-skilled operators and programming staff" and quality-control procedures to ensure accuracy.

Last updated: 7:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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