A recount, and more recalls than you can shake a stick at
Wednesday evening the Kloppenburg campaign made official their call for a statewide recount of the April 5 election results a move that was, for the most part, expected. After Waukesha County Clerk Kathy "Ctrl+S" Nickolaus' oopsie daisy pushed incumbent Justice David Prosser over the top by just over 7,000 votes, it seemed inevitable that a recount would occur.
I'm being honest here when I say I would have expected, and welcomed, the same result had the vote total been reversed with Kloppenburg winning by that same margin (would have, in fact, expected it if her original 200 vote lead had stuck). When the final tally is within the one-half of one percent of the total votes cast (that means the recount can be state funded), and especially after the sheer amount of wonkiness that took place in Waukesha and elsewhere, I think it's entirely reasonable to go back over everything to make sure a fair election took place.
There are legitimate and widespread questions about the conduct of this election most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state. With a margin this small less than one half of one percent the importance of every vote is magnified. And doubts about each vote are magnified as well.
We are aware of widespread anomalies that occurred around the state: an undervote in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine; the Waukesha situation; reports of long lines and photocopied ballots in several counties including Fond du Lac; significant changes in the vote totals in Winnebago County.
Wisconsin residents must have full confidence that these election results are legitimate and that this election was fair. A recount will establish where votes were incorrectly tabulated and expose if irregularities compromised the election process. A recount may change the outcome of this election or it may confirm it. But when it is done, a recount will have shone necessary and appropriate light on an election which, right now, seems to many people, suspect. (emphasis mine)
And that's just it. Public confidence in our election system is crucial, and there are simply too many outstanding questions this go round to have it without a thorough and impartial recount.
Sadly, that's not how Prosser's attorney Jim Troupis sees it. He's on record as calling any Kloppenburg recount "frivolous." The good Illusory Tenant disagrees thusly: "…there is a Wisconsin statute that explicitly addresses the current situation, where the difference between Prosser's and Kloppenburg's vote totals is 0.488603046756558%...Wis. Stat. 9.01(1)(ag)1. So how in the world could something expressly contemplated and authorized by State statute possibly be frivolous? Answer: It cannot. By definition."
(IT and I disagree somewhat in that he believes the recount can only be "unavailing to Kloppenburg and moreover destructive to the general political cause," but that's fine. That's what having an opinion is all about. I have no desire to live in an echo chamber, or to plug my ears whenever someone disagrees with me (unlike certain of my fellow Isthmus bloggers who shall go unnamed but who have deep, personal problems with people who wear baggy pants).)
I'm not in the camp that's crying fraud over all of this I'm willing to trust the GAB's investigation results from the Waukesha vote tally, and am content to know that they will be looking at the election process in that county for several years back considering how terrible Nickolaus appears to have been at her job over time.
I'd be even more content if Justice Prosser, likely to maintain his seat on the court, recuses himself when Attorney Troupis' promised suit against the recount is inevitably brought.
If there are legitimate questions about that same process in other counties, however, I do think it's worthwhile to double-check our math and show our work, as it were. If, however, the Kloppenburg campaign is simply looking to drag this out in an attempt to delegitimize existing Prosser votes, then I'll side with IT.
The most important thing to take from this election is still that Kloppenburg specifically and Democrats in general made significant gains all across Wisconsin. Patchwork Nation put together an easy to read map of where those gains happen, and it illustrates pretty clearly what a major shift occurred after Gov. Walker made clear his intention to clobber public sector employees and the working class.
Combine that with the fact that the Dems are about to turn in something like 30,000 signatures for the recall of Republican Senator Alberta Darling (150% of those required), and that she'll make the fifth GOP senator to almost assuredly face a recall election and Walker's own recall prospects ain't lookin' good (for him).
Republicans, for what it's worth, have been attempting their own signature drives against the Democratic senators who fled the state to stall a vote on the union-busting budget bill (which now sits in limbo in court). How many have they filed so far? None until today when a petition against Sen. Jim Holperin made it in, just under the wire, with 23,3000 signatures.
Word is that just enough signatures have been collected against Sen. Dave Hansen though the margin, just a couple thousand more than required, doesn't make for terribly good padding against a challenge.
Apparently it's difficult enough to find support for the recall of Democrats in Wisconsin that people are now being bribed with alcohol.
The success of the recall campaigns against Republican senators does a lot to make control of that governing body a toss-up come the elections. Currently, the GOP enjoys a 19-14 majority and with at least five of those 19 now facing recalls, a tie or even a flip is entirely possible.
That would mean far less rubber stamping of Walker's every ideological whim.
Hey, remember Sen. Kohl? Thank him today for changing his mind to support equality
Wisconsin's quieter Senator Herb Kohl recently confirmed that he would co-sponsor a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That means there are now enough votes in hand on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, out of committee.
The RFMA would not only repeal DOMA but also "restores the rights of all lawfully married couples-including same-sex couples-to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law."
It's a long time coming, and sadly the act still faces an uphill battle in the full House and Senate but this is happening. A majority of Americans now support marriage equality, and President Obama has signaled his openness to the idea by refusing to continue defending DOMA in the courts and declaring it unconstitutional.
So today, be sure to drop Sen. Kohl a line to say thanks for his change of heart (Kohl voted for DOMA in 1996). And while you're at it, let Sen. Johnson know how you feel about marriage equality, too. Preaching our stories to the choir is all well and good, but it's more important to spread the word to those who have not yet heard it.