Kathy Nickolaus: Is she or isn’t she in charge of the recall elections in Waukesha County?

Blue cheddar, newspapers, and other blogs reported on April 6th that the much lambasted Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus would be stepping aside for May and June recall elections after she received an order to either step aside or resign from Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas.

It seems that exactly what’s going on is not clear. Hat tip to Waukesha Wonk who thoroughly scrutinized all of Nicholaus’ pronouncements and came up short on clarity as well.

From an April 28th JSOnline article:
“Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, widely criticized over the conduct of elections in her county, announced Saturday she has decided not to seek re-election in November.

But the embattled clerk said in a prepared statement that she would not relinquish “any authority or responsibility” for upcoming elections through the end of her term because “I am the Waukesha County constitutional officer charged with the responsibility of elections.”

After problems in the election earlier this month, Nickolaus reportedly agreed under pressure from County Executive Dan Vrakas to cede election responsibilities to her deputy for the upcoming recall races.

Her campaign manager said Saturday she “never ever agreed to hand over the responsibility given to her constitutionally as clerk” to administer the elections. “Kathy is still in charge,” said the manager, Dan Hunt, adding Nickolaus was unavailable for comment.”

Back on April 6620 WTMJ reported that, “Kathy agreed to hand off her election duties to the Deputy County Clerk in order to avoid my public call for her resignation. In stepping aside, Kathy also agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work side-by-side with the Deputy Clerk to help restore confidence in our election process.”

$$ Voting Made Easy: Empowering the 99%

I’m about to buy a lawn mower, but I don’t want my money used to attack Wisconsin workers and families.

There are several lists of companies to avoid when making purchasing decisions, such as companies led by people who gave big donations directly to the Walker campaign. Buying local is usually a wise decision, but even that is problematic when most Wisconsin businesses support the Chamber of Commerce (national or local), or other organizations hostile to Wisconsin’s workers and families.

For example, Wisconsin-based Ariens is out because they belong to WMC. Illinois-based John Deere is even worse, because they not only belong to WMC, they also belong to ALEC.

It can be difficult to find a non-evil company to reward with my consumer spending, but it’s worth the effort. At the moment, I’m considering buying a Husqvarna mower. Husqvarna is apparently a Swiss company, although I’m not sure the where the mowers are actually manufactured.

Boycott lists are a good start, but aren’t enough. We need better ways to help each other identify and support companies that believe strong and prosperous families are good for the economy.

For starters, I need your suggestions on what mower to buy, and where to buy it.

Final Word on Appleton’s “Donutgate”

In what could be billed as the next “rule of thumb” similar to “Don’t take wooden nickels” or “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”, poll workers in Appleton, WI now have “Don’t accept doughnuts from candidates” as reported today by the Appleton Post Crescent. Fox 11 news also covered this story stating “the great donut debate in Appleton is over”. Let’s hope they’re right about this. I’ve enjoyed the variety of doughnut related puns as the next person, but even that is getting a little stale.

To refresh everyone’s memories, last month Appleton Taxpayers United filed an ethics complaint against Cathy Spears for bringing doughnuts to poll workers during the February primary. For more on the story refer to my posts here and here. Cathy’s name was not on the ballot for the primary election last month, but will appear on the ballot next month for the general election.

City Attorney Jim Walsh states:
“We determined that there was no illegal activity, and there was no unethical activity,” Walsh said Thursday. “But because the state Government Accountability Board recommends only the clerk provide food, we suggested to the council we don’t do this anymore.”

Perry Bovee of Appleton Taxpayers United says they are happy with the ruling and won’t pursue the matter further. They also stated they never wanted Spears to be punished for this,  “We merely asked that this violation be noted and that this practice be stopped in all future elections.” This statement leaves me wondering. Is it a “violation” if nothing illegal or unethical was found? Why file an ethics complaint if you don’t want the person to be punished?

The Government Accountability Board has suggested that all food donations be “routed through the city clerk’s office, but Hesse said that could get hectic on already busy election days”. On the bright side, poll workers can still bring their own doughnuts with them on election day because nothing says “appreciation” like people supplying their own snacks.

City Attorney Jim Walsh is quoted as saying “If the city’s election workers could be convinced to alter performance of their official duties by the mere provision of a doughnut, the city has bigger issues than doughnuts,” and “I think it’s a big to do about nothing, I mean we’re not talking Chicago politics, we’re talking about donuts,. For the record, I agree.

Homer Simpson, Gay Rights, Ethics and the Power of the Doughnut

What Homer Simpson May Look Like Eating a Doughnut

Who besides Homer Simpson believes in the “power of the doughnut” to influence all areas of life? The short answer is Appleton Taxpayers United. Just when I thought the story had gone stale I run into a video of Appleton Alderman James Clemons defending Cathy Spears against the ethics complaint against her. He brings up a lot of good points. It’s well worth the two minutes it will take to watch the video.

For those not familiar with the story, Appleton Taxpayers United, led by Perry Bovee, recently filed the complaint against Cathy Spears because she brought doughnuts to some poll workers during the February primary. He is quoted in a Post Crescent article from February 28th of this year:

“Some people might think this is picky, but I don’t think it’s right, no matter the candidate, on the ballot or not,” Bovee said Tuesday. “What if somebody starts giving out $100 bills? Is that OK? I think it’s best if there aren’t any gifts so there isn’t any thoughts of impropriety.”

Most intelligent people can tell the difference between showing appreciation through a snack and a cash payment of $100. This is a “false equivalence” and reminds me of when people argue against raising the minimum wage by saying something like, “fine, we’ll raise everyone’s minimum wage to $100,000 a year”. It makes for a good talking point, but makes no sense in any version of reality.

Appleton Taxpayers United has endorsed Cathy’s opponent, Tom Goehler for the 12th District Council seat.

“Bovee’s group has endorsed Tom Goehler, who is challenging Spears for the District 12 council seat in the April 3 election. It has targeted Spears in the past for voting in favor of the city’s policy to extend health and dental coverage to registered same-sex domestic partners of city employees.”

My original post on the ethics complaint can be found here. I stand by what I said about the issue at that time.

“One, it’s common practice for people to bring snacks and other treats to poll workers. Two, Cathy Spears wasn’t on the ballot. The complaint states that she could be trying to “influence” the election in April. Does anyone believe that a simple doughnut can influence a future election? Three, it smacks of “much ado about nothing”. My favorite quote from the article comes from Alderman Curt Konetzke. He said in an email “We have much more pressing issues in this city than to worry about doughnuts …” He’s right. I don’t see how anyone can “perceive” doughnuts as anything beyond a very tasty treat.”

In closing, I’m glazed and confused and can’t understand why showing appreciation to poll workings by bringing doughnuts to them on election day would get a rise out of anyone.

Wisconsin News: Update on ACLU Voter ID lawsuit – Injunction + Demands to protect veteran and minority rights

“We can now demonstrate what we have always suspected—that strict photo ID laws have a more severe negative impact on black and Latino voters,” said Jon Sherman, an attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “The Voting Rights Act was created to combat exactly this type of barrier, and we intend to see it enforced in Wisconsin.”

The amended complaint charges the voter ID law:

*Violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans the use of voting practices that have a disparate negative impact on racial and language minorities. Research commissioned by the ACLU indicates the law has a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino voters, who are more likely to lack photo ID accepted for voting in Wisconsin.

*Arbitrarily prevents veterans who only have a Veterans Administration ID card from voting. Wisconsin deems such identification unacceptable.

*Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because Wisconsin’s photo ID law results in the arbitrary treatment of voters trying to get a state ID card.

Keep reading at ACLU Wisconsin’s blog:
ACLU’s Federal Lawsuit Against Voter ID: Today’s Filing Asks for Injunction, Voting Rights Act Claim

Joel Kleefisch is Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person In The World

Wisconsin Assembly’s Kleefisch makes it all the way to “Worst Person in the World” on Keith Olbermann’s show! He got caught on video voting not 1 time or 2 times but 3 times in the legislature in quick succession. [Congrats SSWIDTMS!]

Kleefisch co-sponsored the Wisconsin voter ID law which tightened control over the public’s vote.

In May last year he said, “Look, in this state you need to show a photo ID to buy Sudafed. Yet something as important to our system and way of life as voting, you don’t have to even show a photo ID. This only makes sense”.

It only makes sense that this legislator is not trustworthy. What’s the remedy? Photo ID and closed circuit cameras on each politician on the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate floor?

Let’s Sway Responsibly

This past year, I have been a frequent participant in the Solidarity Sing Along protests held every weekday in or just outside the Wisconsin Capitol. One of the songs we sing is “Bring Back Wisconsin to Me”, sung to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, with new lyrics by Lou and Peter Berryman. It’s a great little protest song that almost dares you to swing your arms back and forth while you sing “Ohhhh…bring back, bring back, oh bring back Wisconsin to me, to me…!”

So we do. We sway while we sing that song.

At some point in the nearly 300 Sing Alongs that have been held since March of 2011, it was suggested that we sway carefully to avoid hitting the person next to us while we swing our arms. It was also discovered that it helps if everyone starts swaying in the same direction.

The advice about proper Sing Along etiquette has become an inside joke that is repeated whenever we sing “Bring Back Wisconsin to Me”. The leader calls out “You may sway if you wish, but if you sway…”, and the crowd yells back “Sway Responsibly!” We usually have a few visitors who laugh. Many of the regulars still laugh, too. Often the joke is followed by a few people advising the newbies to always start to the left. Wink, wink.

It’s a good reminder in politics as well as in choreography. Perhaps if Scott Walker had known enough to sway responsibly, he wouldn’t be in the mess he’s in right now – another budget deficit, record job losses, at least half the voters in the state disgusted with him, and his recall election soon to be scheduled. I won’t even mention the John Doe investigation. Oops. Too late.

As we begin the process of selecting someone to run against Scott Walker from the left, we need to do the same thing the singers do every day in the Capitol. We need to move left, but we need to sway in that direction, not just shove each other out of the way to stake out claims. We need to sway responsibly. That means union leaders have to avoid the temptation to endorse the first person who promises them everything they want. It means center-left Democrats and moderate Republicans who have joined in the fight have to acknowledge that the movement began as a defensive action against the stripping of collective bargaining rights, and that the fight will not be over until those rights have been restored. It means that the leaders of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin must keep all the doors open and all the lights on as they guide the process of selecting a nominee.

We need to continue talking to each other so we know what everyone expects and what everyone is willing to contribute. As we did last year during the big rallies on the square, we need to turn and listen to each other individually, not just cheer someone speaking from a podium at the top of the Capitol steps.

Our fight began with Labor, but the demonstrations grew into a coalition, then a movement because it also became a fight to restore funds for public education and health care. It became a fight to restore environmental regulations, and a fight to take back the local control that Scott Walker and the Republican legislature said they favored, but stole from the citizens as soon as they had the chance.

Finally, it has now become a fight to simply restore decency and integrity to our state government. Every day, new revelations are highlighting the corruption, pay-for-play, and plain old theft of public resources being perpetrated by Governor Walker and his cronies. To truly bring back Wisconsin, we must include on the agenda a vigorous plan to bring back open government where everyone’s voice is heard. Taking unlimited, private money out of our politics has to be a priority.

It’s not either/or. It’s a fight for all those things, no matter how the fight began, and it won’t be over until every battle has been won, to quote a line from another protest song.

A primary election for governor is a great way for us to start working together. It’s clear that this will be an election like no other in Wisconsin’s history. Let’s treat it that way. Let’s be patient but assertive as we do it together, arm in arm, singing in unison as we sway to the left. Let us each promise that we will not go home until every item on the checklist has been marked “completed.” Some will be very difficult to accomplish, so we must take advantage of every opportunity to progress, regardless of where that opportunity resides on the agenda.

We will not succeed unless everyone commits to staying until we’ve sung the final chorus of “Bring Back Wisconsin to Me”. Then we’ll sing one more chorus just for fun, and one more after that to teach it to the next generation.

Wisconsin News: Groups hope to stop Wisconsin’s voter ID law Three lawsuits await decisions by courts

MADISON — When Florence Hessing tried to get a state-issued photo identification card to comply with Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, the 95-year-old was told she needed her birth certificate. But she didn’t have one.

She wrote to county officials in Iowa where she was born, but they told her there was no record of her birth. Suddenly, the retired mail carrier who’s voted for decades was ineligible.

“It was frustrating,” she said of the whole ordeal. “As long as I’m up and around, I should be able to vote. It’s our privilege.”

Hessing will seek an indefinitely confined status to be exempted from the law. But she is now part of a group of disillusioned voters hoping the state’s voter identification law is stopped before it takes effect for the Feb. 21 spring primary. Groups suing the state say stories such as Hessing’s will help them succeed where other states with similar challenges failed.

Three lawsuits are at different stages, but major developments for each are expected within weeks. Groups hope to stop the law before it goes into effect for the primary or April 3 presidential primary. Most acknowledge the fight won’t end soon even if they win initially because appeals are certain….

Read more at postcrescent

Fraudulent elections?: “This does ruin people’s days. They don’t want to hear this.”

Jonathan D. Simon, Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance, is who you’ll hear from first in this video from August 27 at Wisconsin’s 2011 Democracy Convention. He says that in election after election, his watchdog organization has observed what he calls a “red shift”. He says the statistical improbabilities of the elections alone should alarm us.

In the 2006 House election there was a huge win for Democrats. The Dems gained a net of about 60 seats and they did it with a vote margin across the country of over 8%.
In 2010, the GOP won 128 seats in the House with a margin of 6.9% nationally. He adds that 2/3 of the Republican House members won with less than 55% of the vote. “Basically every Republican competitive race was won by a margin of less than 10% and the Republicans got less than 55% of the vote. .. and they won all of them! This is a pattern that is just not compatible with statistics. Again. It’s rigging central.”

Sheila Parks walks the audience through a history of questionable elections and evidence that have convinced her clerks must return to hand-counting paper ballots.

You’ll hear plenty of questions and discussion of vote irregularities, torn open ballot bags, and discovered Waukesha County votes during the Q & A session.

I attended the Convention on August 27 but missed this Election Integrity talk. A big thanks to ladyforward1 of youtube for filming this.

Featured speakers:
Sheila Parks:
Sheila Parks, Ed.D. is a long time socialist feminist internationalist. She has been active in the current wave of voting rights since the 2000 Florida presidential election. Parks is the founder of the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, http://www.handcountedpaperballots.org . Over the years she has been active in many arenas, including defending the abortion clinics with her body and spending a year in prison for the 13th non-violent Plowshares action against first strike nuclear weapons.

Victoria Collier:
Victoria Collier is the editor of www.votescam.org. Daughter and niece of James and Kenneth Collier, authors of “Votescam: The Stealing of America,” Victoria continues to educate the public on her family’s groundbreaking 25 year investigation into how elections are centrally rigged using computerized voting machines. Victoria was co-founder of Tierra Lucero, an educational organic farm and Permaculture education center. She now works with the Organic Consumers Association on the BioDemocracy Project, uniting the issues of Environment, Health, Peace, Justice and Democracy to form a broader, more powerful Movement.

Jonathan D. Simon:
Jonathan is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law, and a member of the Bar of Massachusetts. He is also a Chiropractic Physician practicing since 1991 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Simon is co-founder and currently Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance, a national coordinating body for citizen electoral integrity groups and individuals. He also has worked closely with several other election integrity organizations, and in the shaping and production of several films, including Stealing America: Vote by Vote and Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections. He has authored or coauthored numerous papers addressing statistical anomalies and other evidence of computerized election fraud, including most recently with Bruce O’Dell Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006, presenting powerful evidence and analysis of systemic tabulation fraud; (with O’Dell, Dale Tavris, and Josh Mitteldorf) Fingerprints of Election Theft: Were Competitive Contests Targeted?, exposing the pattern of manipulation; and Believe It Or Not: The Massachusetts Special Election For US Senate. As a result of his prior experience as a political survey research analyst for Peter D. Hart Research Associates in Washington, Dr. Simon became an early advocate for an exit poll-based electoral “burglar alarm” system, independent of media and corporate control, to detect computerized vote shifting in Election 2004. In the absence of such a system, he was nevertheless able to capture and analyze critical official exit poll data briefly posted on the web prior to its election-night disappearance, data which served as an initial basis for questioning the validity of Election 2004. He has subsequently focused on developing election forensics protocols appropriate to the new technology of computerized voting systems, but has ultimately reached the conclusion that observable vote counting by humans is inherent to the rights of citizens in a democracy and that the current concealed, computerized process of tabulation is inherently unacceptable, independent of particular demonstrations of fraud.
source

G.A.B. to meet 2/7, 9AM to talk Tech School IDs and recall petition preparations

Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board will meet Feb. 7 in a special meeting. According to their agenda they will “Approve Proposed Rule Permitting Use of Technical College Student Identification Cards for Voting”.

They will also report on recall petition preparations and then go into a closed session to discuss, very probably, a return to court in Waukesha.

GAB-watchers know that once the GAB policy approving tech school IDs for voting is turned into a ruling it will then be set on course to go back to Scott Walker’s desk where it will either be destroyed or languish. The Legislative rules committee [JCRAR] can pick up the matter if Walker does nothing. If the committee does pick it up, they’ll very likely kill it.

All Wisconsin state agencies got neutered last year.
After passage of Wisconsin Act 21 on June 8, 2011, Scott Walker gained new powers to approve or stifle all “rules”: interpretations of how state statutes are carried out. The JCRAR also gained powers to squash or promote rules through Act 21. Ronald Sklansky in Wisconsin Lawyer wrote perhaps the understatement of 2011– that Wisconsin may see “a reduction in the number of rules ultimately promulgated by state agencies”.

Back on November 16 when the JRCAR met for hours to discuss tech school ID’s, Assembly Representative Gary Hebl fought against Sen. Vukmir’s move to force GAB’s policy into the classification of “ruling”.

“It boggles my mind why you want to treat technical college students as second-class citizens, requiring them to jump through additional hoops. As you know, technical college students are the ones that stay around,” Rep. Hebl, Nov 16 WUWM

and

“The governor is going to be in control of his own recall election and even you as Republicans have to understand the consequences of this action. As a result of that, when we have a Democratic governor, he now has that same power, that same authority, and you’re going to regret this day, if we decide this today, or the day that we decide to give the governor the power that we as legislators should have, we’re giving that up and we won’t get it back easily,” Rep Hebl, also from the same WUWM source.

At the same Nov 16 meeting Sen Leah Vukmir said:
“I go back to what our job is in the statutes, in Chapter 227.10, each agency shall promulgate as a rule, each statement of general policy and each interpretation of statutes. So the determination that we’re making here today is whether or not the policies that are being put forth by GAB are statutory interpretations and if they are, they need to be put into rule format”.

Why tech school IDs for voting?
After sitting in on a GAB hearing November 10th I wrote, “G.A.B. reversed course on tech school IDs because they realized they had violated state statute in disallowing their use in voting. GAB’s Judge Cane made the argument that the tech schools pass 3 tests set forth for school IDs in Wisconsin’s new voting ID law. He said they fall under the definition of universities, the definition of colleges, and that of non-profit institutions.”

G.A.B. Special Meeting
Posted in G.A.B. Meeting
Time: 02/07/2012 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
Location: G.A.B. Office, 212 E. Washington Ave., Madison WI 53703
Agenda
A. Call to Order

B. Director’s Report of Appropriate Meeting Notice

C. Personal Appearances

D. Administrative Rules

1. Approve Proposed Rule Permitting Use of Technical College Student Identification Cards for Voting

E. Report on Recall Petition Review Preparations

F. Director’s Report

G. Closed Session

5.05 (6a) and 19.85 (1) (h) — The Board’s deliberations on requests for advice under the ethics code, lobbying law, and campaign finance law shall be in closed session.
19.85 (1) (g) — The Board may confer with legal counsel concerning litigation strategy.
19.851 — The Board’s deliberations concerning investigations of any violation of the ethics code, lobbying law, and campaign finance law shall be in closed session.
19.85 (1) (c) — The Board may consider performance evaluation data of a public employee over which it exercises responsibility.

The Government Accountability Board has scheduled its next meeting for Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday March 21, 2012 at the Government Accountability Board offices, 212 East Washington Avenue, Third Floor in Madison, Wisconsin beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day.

Board Materials will be available on Monday, February 6, 2012.

footnote: A pretty good cheat sheet on Act 21 is here at National Law Review. I see that the author is hired by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP — the go-to law firm for the Wisconsin GOP.

GAB Installs Webcam for Viewing Of Petition Processing

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) announced on their homepage that they have installed a webcam to allow online viewing of recall petition processing.

Recall organizers in Wisconsin turned in close to 2 million signatures on Tuesday. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and 4 state senators will likely face recall elections as a result. Over a million of those signatures were for the recall of Governor Scott Walker. The minimum number of verified signatures needed to force a recall election against Walker is just over 540,000.

Some news stories are saying that the webcam will allow viewers to witness the scanning of petitions (the scanned images will also be made available on the GAB web site), but the GAB announcement says “Click the link above to watch a live stream of recall petitions being processed.” It’s not clear how much of the verification process will be viewable. The GAB has hired temporary workers to assist in checking to be certain that petitions are filled out correctly. Will we be able to view and hear any discussions about specific signatures being invalidated?

The GAB also preemptively apologized for expected gaps in webcam availability: “We just installed the webcam and are working out technical issues, so service may be intermittent initially.”

That’s unfortunate. They knew this was coming for months. They should have worked out any technical issues long ago. If there are periods when the processing of petitions is not viewable by the public, why bother with the time and expense of installing the camera? That’s like my telling the IRS that I’m only going to submit 80% of the documentation for my charitable deductions, and that they’ll just have to trust that I’m not cheating on the rest.

Maybe that’s cynical, but Kevin “Wilting Lily” Kennedy, the head of the GAB, has consistently shown himself to be vulnerable to Republican threats made against his allegedly non-partisan board. His weak-kneed responses to the threats already made have resulted in planned delays in the scheduling of recall elections against the state senators, even where no delay is needed. The Senate petitions contain just a tiny fraction of the total number of signatures submitted. We could be voting in those districts by April if the GAB hadn’t decided to ask the courts to allow the scheduling of all recall elections on one day, perhaps as late as July.

Obama is the only Dem allowed on the WI presidential primary ballot. Aldous C. Tyler plans to change that.

You can hear Aldous C. Tyler interviewed on this topic sometime during the 5PM Central Time hour on the Mic 92.1 today, Wed. Jan 4th.  Listen online if you can’t get it on your FM dial.

When I look at the Jan. 10 New Hampshire presidential primary ticket I see 30 Republicans and 14 Democrats. One of those listed Dems says he’s from Madison, Wisconsin. He’s a man who yesterday was barred from being listed on his home state’s presidential primary ballot.

Per a meeting held yesterday between the Government Accountability Board and individuals from both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party only President Barack Obama will be listed on that ticket as a Dem.

I called the excluded man, Aldous C. Tyler, to hear what he had to say about the matter. He let me know that it’s to late to take his name off of the New Hampshire ballot – he halted his campaign 3 weeks ago.  But Aldous C. Tyler would like to get another candidate on the ballot in Wisconsin:  Darcy Richardson.  Richardson is on the ballot in New Hampshire, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and perhaps soon in Mississippi.

According to Tyler, Darcy Richardson will be on the ballot in Wisconsin after he’s collect 8,000-12,000 signatures for him by January 31st.

From Aldous:

My comment on Mike Tate, head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin directly refusing to place anyone else on the Democratic Primary ballot is: I’m prepared for this. In fact, I’ve been planning for it.

Wis. Stat. § 8.12(1)(c) provides that a candidate may circulate nomination papers between the first Tuesday in January (Jan 3) and the last Tuesday in January (Jan 31). The petition must contain the signatures of at least 1,000 qualified electors in each of the congressional districts (max of 1,500 from any one district). Join me, and let’s show Mike Tate that he has no business taking our right to choose Obama or Darcy or anyone else we want from us.

He said when he called the G.A.B. to discuss his gathering of signatures to get on the ballot the 1st person he spoke with was completely ignorant of the statutes involved and told him he could not get anybody on the ballot. Tyler said after he gave the statute to G.A.B. attorneys they began serious discussion of signature collection.  Tyler said it seemed that “normal standard operating procedure in Wisconsin is to assume that the parties dictate who gets on the presidential ballot.”

Just My 2 Cents

In an era when we’re hearing that folks from the Occupy movement are incredibly disenchanted with electoral politics, many times saying the Democrats are no better than the Republicans, how is enforcing party exclusivity going to be a good thing?

I mean, here I am trying to be a bridge and keep people in the voting game. I tell people voting is like sex. Just because it didn’t go so hot that 1 time does not mean you give up. You keep on trying. You make it better because you keep trying.

This does not look like we are giving anybody a chance to make it better.

And let’s face it. Given the fact that the chances of a non-Obama Dem candidate for President are next to nil for taking over our entire state, could somebody tell me: What is the big threat?

From Easy to Get On to Very Hard

It’s comparatively easy to get on the ballot in New Hampshire:  “..Candidates wishing to file for the first in the nation primary are required to submit a declaration of candidacy to the secretary of state’s office, along with a $1,000 filing fee. New Hampshire’s filing deadline was Oct. 28, 2011.”  Aldous C. Tyler told me that 4 local New Hampshire Democratic Party residents also had to sign up as his “delegates or alternates” on a form.

On the other end of the spectrum are South Carolina and Florida, according to Tyler. He says those states have no petition redress and that party chairs run the entire primary process. It is even illegal to write-in a candidate on the presidential primary ballots of South Carolina and Florida.

Questions Unanswered

I don’t know what the ballot has in store for the Green Party or  how Wisconsin law governs write-ins on the presidential ballot.  Got answers? Got questions? Leave a comment. Thanks.

FYI: 2012 Presidential Primary Schedule

Hat tip to Jeremy Ryan who attended the meeting and reported on the exclusions.

VICTORY! Legislature’s Website Modified!

This is a quick follow up to a story I posted yesterday. The Wisconsin legislature had recently changed their website to show the wrong representatives on their “Who Represents Me?” feature.

A query would display results as if new redistricting laws had already taken effect, describing a constituent’s future representatives as “current” representatives and labeling the current representatives as “previous.”

Many citizens, especially those involved in recalling Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, were convinced that the change was made to intentionally confuse potential recall petition signers.

Thanks to one day of numerous complaints from citizens and a bit of media attention, the legislature changed the search results display. Using my address as a sample, here is what it looked like yesterday morning…

…and here’s what it looked like late yesterday:

I was so amused by the responses I got from the Government Accountability Board (GAB) yesterday that I posted their emails on Daily Kos, if you need a laugh.

While the new display is still not ideal, it is at least technically accurate. One thing that is not spelled out is that for purposes of recalls, the district lines from 2002 apply. The GAB is firm on that point (although the Republican legislative leaders are trying to get a court to change that, naturally.)

That Fascist Bastard Scott Walker

Update:
If we all google “Scott Walker fascist bastard” do you realize that google’s autofill will soon show that phrase to everybody? Hmmmmm.

If you care to do that, feel free to click this convenient little link.
————————————-
Did you read the story of Ruthelle Frank? She’s the 84-year-old woman from Brokaw, WI who has been voting since 1948 and who holds a local elected position but who now can’t vote again. Or to be more exact, she can’t vote again unless she pays $200 to correct a birth certificate error so that she can get a voter ID.

Keith Olbermann read about Ms. Frank and following shot a dose of venom at Walker through the air waves:

“…she can not get 1 of those new state-issued IDs that was foisted upon Wisconsin by that fascist bastard Scott Walker and the criminal gang put in control of the state by the blood money of the Kochs.”

The video below picks up where the Scott Walker slamming begins in Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” segment. Enjoy!

John Nichols Visits the Appleton Recall Walker Headquarters

John Nichols made an impromptu stop at Recall Walker headquarters after speaking at the 7th Annual Esther Banquet. Because the group was small there was a certain level of informality and dialogue that wouldn’t have been possible with a larger gathering. People in attendance included Assembly woman Penny Bernard Schaber, former congressman Steve Kagen, Richard Schoenbohm, Ann Muenster and Claire Knudsen. It was almost too much excitement for this wonk to bear.

John talked briefly to the group in attendance about the upcoming recalls of Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch. The thing that most caught my ear is when he said that Outagamie County was going to be crucial in this effort. That makes a lot of sense as the Fox Cities are a larger urban area in the state. It’s also known for being a very conservative area.

Below are some pictures I took last night:

More pictures from last night can be found here.