Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ron Johnson Votes To Kill Medicare for Wisconsinites Age 55 and Under

Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, voted today for the Republican/Paul Ryan budget which kills Medicare for citizens who are 55 and under in favor of a voucher program which will cover less than half the costs of health insurance.

Even though Republicans are quietly and swiftly walking back from the plan that nearly all House Republicans voted for, Johnson just had to vote against us. Five Senate Republicans voted against the budget and for us. So there was cover for Johnson to vote against his party's wishes. Instead, he simply toed the party line, but did we really expect anything less from Johnson?

Actually, we should expect more from Ron Johnson in this case. Johnson's own Senate campaign website has a blog post, Keeping Promises to Our Seniors by Preserving Medicare and Social Security Benefits, that rips on the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") for cuts to Medicare. Johnson promises to repeal the Act in order to eliminate the cuts. Now he voted to cut Medicare even further than the Act he wishes to repeal does, to the point of near extinction.

However, not only is Johnson flip-flopping from his earlier position, he's lying about the Act's cuts to Medicare. They're cuts to Medicare spending by increasing efficiency, not by reducing benefits. The Republican budget would cut Medicare spending by reducing benefits, which Johnson says in his post he's against. The title says it all, "Keeping Promises to Our Seniors by Preserving Medicare and Social Security Benefits."

Thanks a lot, Ron Johnson! Could you get off my Medicare and please start creating some jobs, that is what you told us you would do!

I believe we can recall Ron Johnson, but at this point his power is much more benign than Governor Scott Walker. Something to think about after a successful Walker recall. From now on, we must think carefully when placing our vote. There was no doubt that Johnson was a dud from the start, and many people were stunned by his win. So, unless that election was stolen (doubtful), we weren't doing our work when we elected Ron Johnson.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Refuse To Show Photo ID When Voting During Recall Elections and Still Vote

Update: (March 21, 2012) This post is no longer relevant. The Voter Suppression Law "is no law at all" according to Wisconsin Judge Richard Niess who placed a permanent injunction on enforcement of the law. Photo IDs are NOT required just as usual.

It won't be required, but poll workers will be asking for specific photo ID when you go to vote during the recall elections this summer. The Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have already swiftly passed the Voter Suppression Bill (Assembly Bill 7) by cutting off debate, and Governor Scott Walker likely won't find a conscience before signing it into law.

The bill includes a provision requiring that poll workers request to see specific photo ID before voting, but not requiring the ID to vote. The provision was added to confuse voters into believing they must show ID to vote in the recall elections, hoping to suppress Democratic voters in order to keep the radical-right stranglehold on Wisconsin. Don't be fooled, you don't have to show ID to vote until 2012!

The provision was added as part of the adopted Assembly Substitute Amendment 2 in section 144 (2) Special Procedure at Elections Held Prior to 2012 Spring Primary. The relevant text is:
" elector who votes at a polling place at an election held prior to the date of the 2012 spring primary shall be requested by the election officials to present proof of identification, but if the elector does not present proof of identification, and the elector is otherwise qualified, the elector’s ballot shall be counted without the necessity of presenting proof of identification and without the necessity of casting a provisional ballot."
Please help ensure that every voter in Wisconsin knows that even though they'll be asked, they don't have to show photo ID to vote in the recall elections.

In support of Wisconsinites who will find it difficult or impossible to vote and in protest of the Voter Suppression Bill, voters who have the requested photo ID should refuse to show it when they vote in the recall elections. Don't take more time than is necessary. Politely say that you forgot your ID or don't want to show it in protest of the new law. Then, cast your ballot as is your right.

Voters who don't have the requested photo ID should tell the poll worker how difficult or impossible it will be to vote in the next election. It's a simple act of legal protest, which may actually provide empirical evidence of the unconstitutionality of the bill.

Let's show the Republicans and the Supreme Court how unnecessary, unconstitutional and inconvenient the Voter Suppression Bill is!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Fight Is Not Over, Wisconsin - Massive Rally at the Capital Saturday!

The Wisconsin Wave and We Are Wisconsin are organizing a massive rally this Saturday in Madison at the Capital from 2:30-4:00pm with music and speakers. Come show Walker and the Republicans that we care deeply about Wisconsin's future, and we won't stop fighting until they start talking about real solutions to balance the budget and most importantly create jobs.

From the Wisconsin Wave:
Walker and legislative allies plan to bypass courts, jam rights-stripping measures through with their budget proposal!

We Are Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Wave will host a rally on the Capitol steps on Saturday, May 14, to send Scott Walker and his legislative allies a resounding message: stop your attacks on working people.

RSVP here:
(please see the bottom of this event posting for info about buses coming from outside of Madison)

Wisconsinites have joined together and prevented Scott Walker’s radical plan to take away worker rights for three months, but he is not done. As we learned from their illegal attempt to jam through the budget repair bill in the dark of night, Walker and his allies are so hell-bent on taking away the rights of Wisconsin workers that they are prepared to use any and all means necessary to achieve their goals.

Now, with their first cynical attempt at union-busting tied up in the courts, Walker’s allies now say they’re ready to add the rights-stripping measures to the state budget now flying through the legislature.

Reintroducing plans to take bargaining rights away from workers into Scott Walker’s fatally-flawed state budget would consolidate Walker’s attacks on Wisconsin’s middle class into a single, horrific piece of legislation. Scott Walker’s budget:
  • Raises costs in health care and food assistance programs that are relied upon by 1.2 million workers, unemployed, retired and disabled people in Wisconsin
  • Breaks up and corporatizes the UW System, raising tuition and threatening closure of campuses
  • Guts the ability of Wisconsin Technical Colleges to prepare and retrain working people
  • Eliminates advanced placement and science and technology course in schools
  • Rolls back recycling and conservation programs throughout Wisconsin

Despite all of this, Scott Walker’s fatally-flawed budget still has plenty of room for gifts for his dearest friends. Containing $200 million of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in giveaways to his largest donors, Walker’s budget is a bonanza for the donors and corporate lobbyists who surely wrote it.

The legislature must reject this horrifying budget and start over. The attacks on working families, seniors, students, the poor, and the environment and our rights must end. Join We Are Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Wave at the State Capitol at 2:30pm on Saturday, May 14, because our fight continues and we will not be silenced.
Buses will be driven in from all over Wisconsin. See the Wisconsin Wave site for more details.

Help take a stand against extreme-right policies and for real solutions! Join us this Saturday at the Capital from 2:30pm-4pm.

Don't forget to bring your friends and family, because these rallies have been peaceful and fun community events with many different people from all over Wisconsin.

Late Night Voter Suppression - Wisconsin Assembly Passes Voter Suppression Bill to Senate

Late Wednesday night, Republicans* in the Wisconsin Assembly passed the Voter Suppression Bill in order to decrease the number of Democratic voters in future elections, particularly the upcoming recall elections, as well as make all of our lives more difficult. Ya, another vote under the cover of night (just after 11pm). The Republicans sure want us to pay for this expensive piece of crap! Just like the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill, no matter what it takes to hurt the people of Wisconsin.

It was clear from the start that Assembly Bill 7 was created simply to suppress Wisconsin voters, particularly those who tend to vote against Republicans. This is because Republicans tend to vote against their interests, and now the Republicans have codified that policy. In fact, homeless Wisconsin citizens will never be able to vote again in Wisconsin according to Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.

Not only that, but the Voter Suppression Bill will likely cost annually 2-3 times as much as the current recount in the Supreme Court election or more, at least $3 million. It also won't solve any real problems, because voter fraud isn't a problem in Wisconsin. It would take a massive conspiracy for voter fraud to swing an election. So Republicans want us to spend millions of dollars a year to make it easier for them to win elections, but they won't fix our computer election systems where Republicans like Kathy Nickolaus (or anyone else for that matter) can manipulate thousands of votes in seconds**!

The Republicans in the Senate are expected to pass the bill next Tuesday.

This is just disgraceful. These people should be ashamed to call themselves Wisconsinites. If their constituents believe that we need to show ID to vote in order to have fair elections, it's because they haven't been telling their constituents the facts.

I'm calling foul on the Republicans for trying to tamper with Wisconsin elections!

The Supreme Court election is one, if only for slamming Kloppenburg for requesting a recount that, if positions were reversed, they would be asking Prosser to request. The recall elections are the next.

Something must be done to stop these radicals from taking control of Wisconsin!

Please join us for the massive rally at the Capital this Saturday in protest of such extreme-right policies as this.

*Oddly, Democrat Representatives Margaret Krusick and Tony Staskunas voted for the Voter Suppression Bill. Their constituents need to ask them, since voter fraud isn't an issue (unless you believe in conspiracy theories), why did you vote to spend millions of dollars to reduce the number of voters in Wisconsin and make all of our lives more difficult?

If you didn't catch that, Rep. Krusick's email is and Rep. Staskunas's email is I encourage you to make your voice heard now before it's needlessly taken away or made more difficult at the polls.

**This is no joke. Not only do our computer vote counting machines rarely count the actual number of votes (we aren't told exactly how rarely), but they can easily be manipulated to do whatever someone wants, including play Pac-Man. No computer security expert questions these statements, and a world-renowned expert, Bruce Schneier, has written much on the topic. It doesn't take a conspiracy to swing an election with computer election equipment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Recount Complete Except Waukesha County

Every county in Wisconsin has completed their recount except Waukesha County. Now, I'm not going to complain that they're taking too much time, because I think it's reprehensible that people want our officials to conduct such an important recount quickly. Mistakes will happen when you try to rush things, so why rush this recount? Of course we don't want them to drag on without reason either, which is why an extension must be sought through the courts.

Still, as I've explained before, we don't have enough information to believe most of the vote counts that have been submitted to the GAB. Since our officials have made it clear that they're not concerned with our confidence, we need a proper and thorough investigation.

We shouldn't be hearing about unsealed ballot bags from bloggers or anyone else. It's absolutely ridiculous that some people are simply shrugging these issues off saying that they happen all the time and probably happen in other counties. What?! Ballot bags are ripped open all over Wisconsin, and no one seems to care? Not only could votes be added, but they could be lost. How does anyone know that votes didn't fall out of the bags at some point? We don't.

It's not as if our officials haven't been given enough time to clarify unresolved issues. We expected every county in Wisconsin to finish their recount yesterday. Why are we, today, still fighting to get clarification on simple issues such as how a computer can lose election results? This all feels so surreal.

We must seek out the issues in our elections, because such issues are inherently buried by their perpetrators, and then we must fix them.

So, I'll say it again, if the recount ends (May 26th) without the start of a proper investigation, I will rightly denounce the validity of the winner's victory every chance I can.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Proper Investigation Required in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

Regardless of who wins, we can't believe most of the vote counts provided to the GAB for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, because there are so many unresolved and unexplained issues. There's no certainty in any of the counts from vote counting machines, because we know they rarely count votes correctly and are easily manipulated. Once one begins to also consider the issues with insecure ballot bags, one realizes just how unclear the results of the recount are.

The Kloppenburg campaign has the burden of showing that something improper occurred, but with very little information, and officials refusing to provide further information*, that will be very difficult to show. Unfortunately, there isn't much proof that something improper didn't occur. So, unless a thorough investigation is conducted, we won't know what to believe.

I wrote more on this here, including how Minnesota properly conducted a statewide recount in 2008.

However, I want to be sure this point is heard loud and clear: Unless we get more clarity, there's no reason to believe the results of this election and its recount.

If the recount ends (May 26th) without the start of a proper investigation, I will rightly denounce the validity of the winner's victory every chance I can. I vow to do this whether the winner is Prosser or Kloppenburg, because I just want to know the truth, and I will have no qualms congratulating the winner once the true winner is determined.

*This has gotten so bad that it's really starting to beg the questions: Why aren't we getting clarity from the officials responsible for doing so? What possible motives could someone have for withholding such information?

Republicans Tweak Voter Suppression Bill, But Why?

Blah, blah, blah. The Republicans, realizing their Voter Suppression Bill is a mistake, are in the process of tweaking the bill.

But, what's the point?

Requiring an ID to vote doesn't solve any problems, it just costs Wisconsin more. In such a time of economic burden, where workers' rights are being threatened, is it really right to spend millions of dollars only to reduce the number of voters?

Thankfully, it appears there may be enough public momentum against this bill to stop it, because no matter what tweaks the Republicans make, it will still be the Voter Suppression Bill.

Also, will people, particularly the Journal Sentinel, stop confusing people by calling this a voter ID bill or photo ID bill. The bill neither creates a voter ID nor requires just any photo ID (not to mention that name says nothing about voting). So, please start calling the bill what it really is, Assembly Bill 7 or the Voter Suppression Bill.

Alarming Lack of Clarity in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Recount

I hammered away for days if not weeks after the election, demanding a recount, so that we could have some confidence in the election results. Given the issues with our computer election equipment, which were brought to light by the fiasco in Waukesha County, there's not a single person who can say all of the vote counts throughout Wisconsin are correct. The only counts we can say are correct are those that were hand counted, but that occurred in only parts of 31 of our 72 counties (and a few that don't have machines). Even then, with unresolved ballot bag issues, there may be reason to suspect some hand recounts.

So many questions have gone unanswered (which causes more questions given this is all supposed to be transparent) from why election software can lose votes to why ballot bags are left so insecurely. Some issues get explained, but such issues never seem to be the ones we're concerned about. I don't understand why the people who are supposed to be explaining these things to us continue to refuse to do so. There's no reason they can't quickly address the issues to increase our confidence, especially given all of the suspicions. This recount isn't giving us any confirmation that the election was open, fair and clean, but that's what recounts are supposed to be for.

In 2008, the nation witnessed how a recount is properly conducted. The Minnesota recount in Senator Al Franken's election was entirely a hand recount and issues were resolved out in the open. In fact, the recount was broadly reported on, and they even posted all disputed ballots online for all to see. No one could say at the end of that recount that Franken didn't win.

Unfortunately, we won't have the same confidence in this recount. What's worse, whoever wins sits for ten years. With so much at stake, and so many questions, why the heck aren't we properly and transparently conducting this recount for all to see?

I'm grateful that Waukesha County is live streaming their recount, but I don't understand why this wasn't setup for every county. There's little time and expense in setting up such a live stream, but it provides a large increase in transparency and confidence in our elections. For example, the public knows about most of the ballot bag issues simply because one concerned Wisconsinite has been watching the live stream quite intently. How many other counties had issues with ballot bags that we don't know about because those counties' recounts weren't streamed online? It's a shame that we use computers to count votes, but still live in the dark ages when it comes to recounts.

Sure the issues with ballot bags are great for news stories and conspiracy theories, and there really may be lost or improper votes from those bags, but the real problems lie with the fact that our vote counting machines could very well be counting our votes incorrectly. It doesn't take a conspiracy for thousands of votes somewhere in Wisconsin to have been incorrectly counted. This issue hasn't been addressed or resolved.

By the way, the new tally from the recount brings more suspicion by itself. I bring this up again because we have so little information to work with. Since we presume Prosser has more votes than Kloppenburg, he should also have a majority of new votes from the recount. However, so far, Kloppenburg is leading the new votes by quite a large margin (548-296). It's not proof of issues with the vote count, but it can be a red flag. Unless this wide margin doesn't hold or is explained, it's additional cause for concern that the vote counts somewhere are incorrect.

I'm going to say this completely factual statement now in the hopes that we get some more clarity. Unless we get more clarity, there's no reason to believe the results of this election and its recount.

If the recount ends (May 26th) without the start of a proper investigation, I will rightly denounce the validity of the winner's victory every chance I can.

Scott Walker's Insecurity and Dangerous Contradiction

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is so afraid of his fellow Wisconsinites that he continues to make us pay for beefed up security around the Capital. The Journal Sentinel reports that the extra security costs around the Capital are about to exceed $6 million. At the same time, Walker is hoping to quickly sign a bill into law legalizing concealed weapons before the recall elections this summer. For someone who cares so much about his own security, he sure doesn't care much about ours.

Unbelievably, the bill will allow anyone in Wisconsin to carry a concealed weapon without training, a permit or a background check. Do we have such short memories that we forget the recent shooting in Arizona which nearly killed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords?

Why do we need to be able to carry weapons concealed? There is absolutely no benefit out of it. We have the right to own a gun, but we don't have a right to sneak around with it. No one besides law enforcement should have the privilege to carry a concealed weapon. Especially in Wisconsin, when you don't know just how drunk the guy next to you could be.

Do we have such short memories that we forget the two stabbings on Mifflin Street last weekend? Does anyone think that concealed weapons will decrease the chance of that occurring again?

The contradiction was even more apparent when I found the two articles right next to each other on the Journal Sentinel home page. Walker, if you're so afraid of us now, how afraid will you be when we can sneak an AK-47 around you just about anywhere*? Will we have to pay even more for Walker to feel safe among us? I know that I'll personally feel less safe if they legalize concealed weapons. Walker, you want beefed up security for yourself, but you want to decrease the security of every Wisconsinite. That's a dangerous contradiction for the people of Wisconsin.

It's not like this bill saves any money or creates any jobs.

Instead of trying to cram your extreme agenda down our throats, could you please start working on creating jobs like you said was your top priority?

*I am in no way saying that I condone violence against anyone, nor am I saying that anyone should be violent towards any of our representatives. Please, protest with your mouth, not your weapons. However, the point needs to be made that if Walker feels insecure now, he can only feel less safe if he signs this bill into law.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Walker To Jam Extreme-Right Crap Down Throats of Wisconsinites

Well, now that the recall campaigns have ended, the Republicans have ended their "quiet period" (you know that period before an election in which they don't tell us what they're planning to do later). According to the AP, Walker and the Republicans are planning to introduce and quickly pass a whole host of extreme right-wing candy, none that will help fix the budget. This includes the Voter Suppression Bill, which will likely pass the Assembly this week, strip collective bargaining rights, legalize concealed weapons, increase charter schools, deregulate phone companies, and end early release of prisoners. The Republicans plan to rush all of these bills through before they will likely lose their power with the recall elections this summer.

None of these bills deliver on the promises these Republicans made to us last November, those of delivering jobs and fixing the budget. The Voter Suppression Bill is conservatively estimated to cost taxpayers over $5 million to implement and then over $2 million yearly, yet it doesn't do anything - it doesn't solve any actual problems. Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen has been investigating voter fraud for years, and has only found 11 improper votes. That number of votes couldn't swing any election in Wisconsin, but besides that, the Voter Suppression Bill wouldn't have prevented any of them.

Yes, the Republicans still haven't learned their lesson from the many thousands who protested and from the recall of six senators. Even though Walker admitted under oath that stripping collective bargaining rights "doesn't save any" money, they plan on tacking the anti-collective bargaining bill to the budget if they don't get their way through the courts. I wish the media would ask them why when the Republicans tell them of this plan. Since it doesn't save Wisconsin any money, why strip rights away from our public workers?

Legalizing concealed weapons will only increase violent crime. I'll bet my life on it, and so do many police officers! I read a Journal Sentinel article that said the Milwaukee Police Department was in favor of such a bill if it provided some much needed changes when it comes to licensing and punishment. However, I don't see the logic in creating a bigger problem in order to solve other problems. Fix the holes in the system without adding new ones. I don't want to live in fear that the guy next to me at the bar is carrying a weapon. I like that we all (except for a few, e.g. law enforcement) must make our possession of weapons blatantly obvious. I won't feel more secure knowing anyone could be carrying a weapon, I'll feel less secure.

Republicans don't want to just make our cities less safe, they want to make us more dumb. Sure, charter schools can be good, but our public schools are already quite good and can be improved using less money than creating new schools. Diverting money across more school systems will only decrease the efficacy of our school systems on average. You can't reduce money in one system and expect it to improve, and you also can't expect the charter schools to be able to do any better than a public school. Let me say that another way so the point hits home. Anything a charter school can do for students, a public school can do as well. Reducing the amount of money that all of our schools get (charter schools won't be living fat either) will only reduce the effectiveness of our schools as a whole.

The effort to increase charter schools in Wisconsin just doesn't have any logic to it. The only "selling point" of charter schools with any relevancy is that they can be a bed for experimentation. But experimentation just to experiment isn't helpful, especially to our children. Public schools and teachers have a long history of experimenting, and there are processes and channels to facilitate the experimentation and sharing of results. Of course public schools aren't perfect, but that's no reason to give up on them, it's reason to improve them.

In short, charter schools concentrate the quality of schools to small pockets, whereas public schools have more uniform quality. If you increase the money to charter schools, you'll decrease the overall quality of public schools and concentrate the quality of Wisconsin's schools in a few choice charter schools. If you increase the money to public schools and decrease it to charter schools, you increase the overall quality of Wisconsin's schools. Charter schools will never be able to do what our public schools do as a whole, and creating them just wastes taxpayer money.

Charter schools are just another example of a fake solution that can only make things worse. If you want to improve our schools, improve our schools.

The Republicans also want to deregulate phone companies in Wisconsin, so we can all pay more for even crappier service. Thanks, Walker, for looking out for the citizens of Wisconsin! There's nothing more that can be said about phone company deregulation, besides welcome back Ma Bell!

Lastly, the Republicans want to end early release for low-risk prisoners. Regardless of what you may think of the idea of early release, as illusory tenant points out, it saves Wisconsin quite a bit of money. Not only that, but I believe these programs have been shown to improve the success of rehabilitating prisoners. So, the Republicans plan to make us pay more so that our prisoners are more likely to commit crimes again.

It's clear that these ideas are against the wishes of most Wisconsinites, because the Republicans are trying to pass these bills before they lose their majority. If their ideas were inline with our ours, they wouldn't have to rush these bills through now. They could just pass them with bipartisan support. However, these ideas are from the top of extreme-right wish lists, and they should be treated as such. They should be left to the fringe of political conversation, not the center.

None of these ideas or bills will save us money, solve any problems, create jobs, or reduce the budget. I'm absolutely appalled that Wisconsin is considering such "solutions," especially when we're not broke but short on money. The only thing they do is make us pay to look more like a hill-billy state. The grass really will be greener somewhere else if this crap falls on Wisconsin. What do we have to do to get some real solutions around here?

We the people of Wisconsin need to wake up now and stop this crap before we have to eat it!

(I glossed over many of my conclusions, but I can provide further facts and detail if desired.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Serious Questions In Supreme Court Election Recount

Some serious questions are being asked in Waukesha County during the recount for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. This morning, the Kloppenburg campaign objected to the counting of votes from six "improperly sealed" ballot bags from the City of Brookfield, the city whose votes were presumably not counted by Kathy Nickolaus on election night because of computer error. Unbelievable!

Even though the Kloppenburg campaign objected, those in charge pressed to count the votes. Amidst strong opposition, the retired judge appointed to temporarily take Nickolaus's place allowed the Kloppenburg campaign representative to question the Brookfield City Clerk on the record first. However, the judge abruptly stopped the questioning before the clerk had answered all of the questions.

If there were ballot bags in Wisconsin that needed to be handled with more care than others, it's the ballot bags from Brookfield. I'm absolutely shocked, and it's evident that a real investigation of Waukesha County must occur. What's worse, many people (including Prosser) say these issues are normal. Such carelessness with our elections is inexcusable!

There's video, transcript and more analysis written by the DailyKos's great Giles Goat Boy here. A copy of his transcript of the questioning follows:
JK Representative: To your knowledge were the bags secure while you, while they were in your possession?

Schmidt: Yes they were and…we keep them in a locked vault until they’re taken to the county. It’s always a problem with sealing these. They have one hole in the bag. Unfortunately when you just fold them over, if you have too many in there, you can see how they will tear when you pick them up like this.

JK Representative: These weren’t torn, Kris, they were open…

Schmidt: I understand, but they will also come apart. If you take a look at that. When you see the ones we do in the absentee canvas, I seal them and…I actually punch holes and weave something in there. This is a training experience for me to tell my co-workers. I guarantee you these ballots were put in and not tampered…with…until they left my…city hall and were taken to the county and I’m sure the same situation was there.

JK Representative: Can I ask, who other than you has access to the vault?

Schmidt: To the vault? My staff. Other people can go in but I guarantee you we are not friendly after an election. They don’t come and visit us.

(After some crosstalk, the Prosser reps ask a couple softball questions, then the judge continues)

Judge Mawdsley: Ok, all right why don’t you do this…you can ask the clerk questions on the side if...(unintelligible)

JK Representative: I’d like to get this on record, though. After you’ve taken them into your possession, they’re stored in the vault. There’s another step, though before they arrive here, is there not?

Schmidt: Yes

JK Representative: Would you go over those steps?

Schmidt: Essentially they usually put them – the fellows from the highway department, which most clerks use to transport things – put them in boxes and them bring them in to the county. And that’s done the next day. I think we left ours…(unintelligible)...we left ours about 3 o’clock in the afternoon to go to the county.

JK Representative: And do you know what happens to them when they arrive at the county?

Schmidt: Actually, not. I think they had to call… (waves her hand dismissively at the questioner) You can’t expect (unintelligible)…

Judge Mawdsley: OK. That’s enough for now, you can talk to the clerk on your own…(unintelligible)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why Is Prosser Still Complaining About the Recount?

Even though there have been significant issues in Waukesha County and around the state including torn ballot bags and missing seals/labels, the Prosser campaign has set up a ridiculous website* which calls the recount a "disaster". The only thing that could be called a disaster in this recount is Wisconsin's elections.

They shouldn't be complaining about a very useful service to the people of Wisconsin, because they want to spend a lot more money yearly on the Voter Suppression Bill, which will absolutely not solve any problems.

The only reason to be against this recount is to prevent us from learning the true vote count and the truth about our elections. I find it really odd that only a few weeks ago, Prosser's campaign rightly said they were open to a recount. Only more issues have surfaced since then. Why question the recount now?

Not only that, but Prosser's website makes you believe that Kloppenburg's campaign has taken away 148 votes by displaying it as "-148". However, the number 148 doesn't reflect removed Prosser votes, it mostly reflects votes that weren't originally counted, just like the 7,000 some that Prosser claims gives him the lead. This website is not fitting of a local politician much less a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

The website asks you to "Preserve the Prosser Victory." See, that's where the problem lies. Kloppenburg isn't asking for a recount to take away Prosser's supposed lead. Kloppenburg's goal is to help us determine the true vote count, because we know the "official" count is not correct. Asking people to preserve your victory in an election recount is asking people to say you've won regardless of the truth.

Prosser's campaign should remove this website and start spending money to preserve our elections - not anyone's victory.

I'd like to have an effective discussion about the real issues in our elections. I've compiled a list of the significant issues that we've seen during this election as well as ideas for solving the issues here. I'll continue to add to the list if more issues come to light.

*This is the website: Thanks to illusory tenant for spotting it!

Assembly Republicans Advance Voter Suppression Bill - Full Assembly Vote Next Week

According to the Journal Sentinel, the Voter Suppression Bill (AB7) was passed out of committee on a party-line vote. The Republicans are trying to quickly ram this bill through before the recall elections, because the bill reduces the number of voters who can and will vote, particularly those who vote for Democrats and who already lack a voice in our communities. Read this post for more information about why the Voter Suppression Bill proposes a fake solution and is a very expensive distraction (it'll cost yearly more than the current recount) from our real issues.

The Voter Suppression Bill is a fake solution, because the bill (which is meant to prevent voter fraud) won't prevent any of the at most 20 improper votes in recent elections. So it doesn't even do what the Republicans say it will do, and it costs us much more of our time and money. This bill is a fraud.

The bill was amended to allow certain school IDs, but none of the UW schools include the necessary information for them to be used. I'm not sure about the status of IDs from other higher education institutions in Wisconsin, but it's likely the amendment allows the use of very few current student IDs. We will in one way or another pay for those IDs to be updated as well, otherwise it's called a poll tax. The amendment doesn't address those costs. So the amendment is just as careless as the rest of the bill.

By allowing only certain student IDs, the Republicans have shown how arbitrary the photo ID requirement is. People in Wisconsin haven't been voting in place of other people, and honestly it's very difficult to make any sort of impact by travelling around, waiting in line, and hoping to use just the right names. They could strengthen or loosen the requirement, and the only thing it would do is change the number of voters who can and will vote. It's a frivolous requirement.

To have any influence, voter fraud requires a true conspiracy on a level the United States has not seen. However, by manipulating voting machine tallies, one person can swing a statewide election. That doesn't require a conspiracy.

We must stop this horrific bill now or we may never have fair elections in Wisconsin again! The Republicans are planning to turn the bill into law in the next couple of weeks, and they plan to schedule a vote in the full Assembly as early as next week.

Please, contact your state representatives and tell them why you think the Voter Suppression Bill is detrimental to Wisconsin.

Instead of wasting millions of taxpayer money on a very expensive solution to a teeny tiny issue that won't even work, let's try to find real solutions to our election issues.

Note: I still have to read the actual language of the amendment instead of interpretations by the news media, but I will post any unexpected changes if necessary.

What Can the Recount Tally Changes Tell Us?

There's one critical piece of information that I'm paying careful attention to in the recount for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the updated vote tallies. The changes to the election results from the recount are not only important because they tell us who presumably is the winner, but they *should* also confirm the winner.

There appears to be at least 8 issues with the chain of custody of ballots in Waukesha County such as torn ballot bags and missing seals/labels. So there's definitely ways in which those ballots could have been modified. Of course, the media reported the issues with the ballot bags in the first few days of the recount, but there's been no mention of the more recent issues or how any of the issues were resolved. The GAB also hasn't explained the resolution of these ballot bag issues or even acknowledged many others. This is very concerning, because the whole idea behind the recount was to get to the bottom of issues, not to continue hiding them.

So, how can we tell if there are unresolved issues with the election results? Theoretically, and with a large enough amount of votes, the distribution of changes in results should match the final distribution of results. That is, if Prosser has a majority of the overall votes, he should also receive the majority of newly-counted votes. So if, say, Prosser retains the lead in the overall results when the recount is complete, but Kloppenburg received a majority of the newly-counted votes, then there is reasonable concern to doubt the vote tallies from one or more precincts.

This is particularly true if there is an unexplained wide gap between the two distributions and is a result of the mathematics of probability. If Prosser has a majority of the overall results when the recount is complete, but didn't receive a majority of the newly-counted votes, we could have a problem. It wouldn't be proof that an unresolved issue exists, but it would be a bright red flag.

So where do things stand now? Well, Kloppenburg is leading 437 to 140 in the newly-counted votes. That's 50% of the newly-counted votes going to Kloppenburg which is also 75% of the newly-counted votes cast between Kloppenburg and Prosser. If the recount were complete, these numbers would be cause for concern. However, I must stress that the latest numbers from the GAB are unofficial, and we can't make any judgements until almost all counties complete the recount (if we can at all before the full recount is complete). Also, this technique won't always uncover issues and it may imply issues when none exist, so we must carefully make judgements when using it.

Still, since we're getting very little information from the GAB and the news media, I thought I'd share this bit of helpful information now rather than later. If the distribution of results continue the way they are currently, we're going to want a strong argument for further investigation.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kloppenburg Gains 148 Votes In Recount

Kloppenburg has gained 148 votes in the recount so far, but few people know it. There's been very little media coverage of the recount for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Which is odd given all of the issues, some potentially very serious, seen thus far. How are we the people of Wisconsin supposed to know everything has been handled correctly? The GAB hasn't specifically addressed any of the issues seen thus far, and no one seems to be asking them to.

Some people may want the media to stay silent, because they'd like us to continue feeling a false sense of security, but we already know how fragile our elections are. Now more issues have been exposed, and the GAB continues to stay silent?

Hopefully, Waukesha County isn't an indicator of how messed up our elections are in other counties, but I wonder how it couldn't be.

Thanks to Giles Goat Boy at DailyKos for watching the Waukesha County recount live stream so carefully and keeping us all up to date!

Governor Scott Walker Still Lying To Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker is still lying to Wisconsin about collective bargaining rights. Walker is still telling Wisconsinites that he needs to strip rights from public workers to save money, even though he told the U.S. Congress under oath that doing so "doesn't save any." I guess Walker doesn't have a problem with lying to us if he thinks he can get his way. I'd like to know how these actions mesh with his Christian faith.

Walker is now at least the second Republican to say they plan to add the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill to the budget if they don't get their way in the courts. Apparently, recalling six Republican senators hasn't shown them how much Wisconsin despises their plan. The Republicans are definitely testing the waters, and we should be sure to tell our representatives how we feel before something gets introduced.

The Republicans have wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to force this ideological crap on us. How much more will they spend of our hard-earned money before they stop trying to take people's rights away?

Oh, and Walker thinks he can survive a recall election, too. He's dreaming if he thinks he can keep acting like this and still be our Governor a year from now. I'd say that I'd like to see him try, but I'd rather see him work with the people of Wisconsin to find real solutions to our problems.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Republicans Spent $27,000 On Lawyers To Refuse Collective Bargaining Bill Negotiation

During the debate surrounding the collective bargaining rights-stripping bill, the Republicans spent $26,955 of Wisconsin taxpayer money on lawyers trying to force the Wisconsin 14 back instead of trying to negotiate with them. The Republicans had days and weeks to negotiate, but at every step they insisted they wouldn't. Now we get the bill for their "service to Wisconsin." I call BS! For such a political move, the Republicans shouldn't be using taxpayer money, they should be using campaign or personal money.

Republican attorney Jim Troupis sure is making a lot of money from Prosser, Walker and the rest of the Republicans. It almost looks like Troupis is setting the Republicans up to come crawling back to him every few weeks. Maybe it's time the Republicans find a new attorney, because the powers the Republicans asserted (ability to arrest the Democrats) was false. How did this attorney help Wisconsin? I absolutely forbid my tax money be spent in such a way, especially when these Republicans want to cut our schools and teachers' (fully solvent) pensions to try to dig up money.

The entire cost of any damages to the Capitol building and grounds during the months of protests will likely be less than the few days of legal work for the Republicans. How dare they complain about the costs of hearing the voices of the people of Wisconsin!

Republicans have spent over $200,000 of Wisconsin taxpayer money on private lawyers so far this year, and that number is likely to more than double before the end of summer.

Also, it appears Republican State Senator Alberta Darling hasn't learned her lesson. She says if they don't get their way in the courts, they'll add the collective bargaining bill to the budget, and she'll vote for it.