WisconsinWeekly: Frequent lottery winners; getting the lead out

Lucky lottery winners; boosting lead removal; mapmaking helps MI Republicans; felons’ voting rights; election security crisis

Of note: The former WCIJ freelancer who investigated Wisconsin’s repeat lottery winners has taken the investigation to Virginia. Seeking to understand whether these winners might be cheaters, Peter Coutu and the Virginian-Pilot analyzed more than 280,000 lottery ticket claims and interviewed a security specialist and a math professor. Coutu found some winners “are collecting prizes so frequently that their winnings appear to defy the odds.” Read the full story below, and check out stories from around the nation that examine issues WCIJ has explored in Wisconsin.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Dee and Andy Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Dee is the managing editor and Andy is the executive director.

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Some lottery players around Virginia are racking up massive winnings. Are others being cheated?

Virginian-Pilot — September 21, 2018

Between 2008 and 2016, 92 people won at least 50 tickets worth $600 or more apiece, according to data from the Virginia Lottery. Some of these players are collecting prizes so frequently that their winnings appear to defy the odds. According to a survey by central Pennsylvania newspaper PennLive, Virginia is one of just 10 states that do not systematically monitor for frequent winning. Previously from WCIJ: Some people repeatedly win the Wisconsin Lottery. Do they play fair?

Removing lead hazards from Milwaukee homes a focus of Mayor Tom Barrett’s 2019 budget plan

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — September 22, 2018

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is proposing a “historic investment” to address the city’s ongoing lead crisis. The plan would put $20 million toward removing residential lead paint and other hazards, filtering water and replacing pipes. Under the plan, about 100 child care centers and 450 properties that have had emergencies such as leaks would receive new pipes next year, and a special team would focus on the homes of lead-poisoned children. Previously from WCIJ: Milwaukee takes action to reduce lead in water; critics say it is not enough

How a shadow Republican group gerrymandered Michigan – sparking a backlash

Bridge Magazine — September 25, 2018

Bridge Magazine reports that behind Michigan Republicans’ “neat mathematical feat” of maintaining overwhelming statewide congressional majorities year after year without earning more votes than Democrats lies the redistricting effort of The Michigan Redistricting Resource Institute, a nonprofit “which has no staff, a no-frills website and a post-office box for an address.” A pending federal lawsuit has revealed documents showing that the group paid for “more than 2,500 hours over the course of one year for legal, mapmaking and other consulting work.” Previously from WCIJ: High stakes for elections — and democracy — as U.S. Supreme Court nears decision on Wisconsin redistricting case

Will Florida’s ex-felons finally regain the right to vote?

New York Times Magazine — September 26, 2018

When Florida voters go to the polls in November, they will decide whether to enfranchise more than 1.5 million Floridians who have been barred from voting due to felony convictions. Under current Florida law, felons are banned from voting for life unless they successfully petition for clemency. The state is home to more disenfranchised people than any other state in the country, more than one quarter of the six million disenfranchised nationally. No political action committees have yet formed to oppose the amendment, and even Charles and David Koch, the biggest source of conservative spending on elections, have declared their support. Previously from WCIJ: Legislative attempts to make it easier for felons to vote almost always fail

The crisis of election security

New York Times Magazine — September 26, 2018

Just months before the 2016 elections, a director in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security learned that there were systemic vulnerabilities in the nation’s voting system. “Two years later, as the 2018 elections approach, the American intelligence community is issuing increasingly dire warnings about potential interference from Russia and other countries, but the voting infrastructure remains largely unchanged,” reports the New York Times Magazine. Previously from WCIJ: Voting systems in Wisconsin, a key swing state, can be hacked, security experts warn

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