Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Of course WI will restrict the presidential vote recount

[Updated from 11/28] The Wisconsin Elections [Sic] Commission said "no" today to the legal request sought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein for a hand-recount of ballots cast in the November 8th Presidential election - - the same careful, focused type of recount which actually discovered that the wrong candidate, Republican Norm Coleman, had been declared the winner of a US Senate seat in Minnesota that was won by Democrat Al Franken:
Stein had an affidavit from a leading computer scientist. The argument is that we should review the paper ballots in the counties in Wisconsin where voters use paper-ballot based systems and that we should examine the electronic voting machines, in use in other Wisconsin counties, which have been proven to be untrustworthy. In Michigan, Trump won by 11,000 votes. But there were 85,000 “blank votes” in which people voted for other races but they left the presidential race blank. That is far higher than any election in history. A hand count of the ballots could determine if the box was merely checked, but the oval not filled in. If so, it will be counted. This can make a difference in the outcome. In Minnesota in 2008, Sen. Al Franken won entirely on a recount of paper ballots. The machine count had declared Norm Coleman a winner, but the hand counting showed Franken was the actual winner.
Here's the Wisconsin ruling:

Elections commission rejects request for hand recount

[Update] - - Gov. Walker has thrown in his ultra-partisan and self-serving two cents, blasting the recount which is allowed under state law (until Republicans restrict it in the next legislative session - - just watch) - - and repeating his misleading talking point about having made it easier to vote in Wisconsin but harder to cheat - - disproven by federal judicial decisions overturning GOP-drafted restrictions on early voting and legislative redistricting gerrymandering which undermined democracy and Democratic voters' constitutionally-protected representation. And Walker cheated the public during his 2010 run for the Governor's office, using Milwaukee County staff and resources to raise money, organize events and support other candidates.

Investigations like the one that sent six of Walker's aides and associates to jail were subsequently made harder under bills passed by the GOP-led legislature and signed into law by Walker. Details and links below where "John Doe" investigations are discussed.

Democrats joined Republican members of the commission in the ruling - - and Stein can sue to force the hand count which can also be done at the discretion of each Wisconsin County -  - - but read further to understand that the Commission is there in the first place because the Walkerites killed the body's non-partisan predecessor and took such decisions out of the hands of a group of non-partisan retired judges and turned them over to party-driven processes.

Citing the results of a 2011 statewide recount that changed only 300 votes, commission chairman Mark Thomsen, a Democrat, said this presidential recount is very unlikely to change Republican Donald Trump's win in the state.

"It may not be 22,177," said Thomsen, referring to Trump's win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the vote count. "But I don’t doubt that the president-elect is going to win that."

Thomsen dismissed Stein's claims of problems with the vote as unfounded and misleading. But he directed his toughest criticism to President-elect Trump's unsupported allegations that millions of people voted illegally nationwide, calling them "an insult to the people that run our elections."

The commission is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans. It adopted the recount plans unanimously.
It is disappointing that the commission with no third-party representation is signaling premature and self-serving assurance while ruling out the hand recount sought by Stein, and supported by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Worse, it reinforces the partisan cast of a state where the GOP's candidate narrowly won the state's electoral votes, and Wisconsin is run as a one-party state by an autocratic legislature in league with an imperial Governor and State Supreme Court that sacrificed its impartiality when it had a 4-3 conservative majority that has now risen to an even harder-edged 5-2 right tilt.

The commission is the partisan replacement election and campaign referee created by Republican legislators and signed into law by GOP Governor Scott Walker because the predecessor body, the non-partisan, acclaimed Wisconsin Accountability Board, had provided staff support for Grand Jury-like "John Doe" investigations into allegations of campaign finance law violations which ensnared Walker and several GOP-linked advocacy groups.

The Accountability Board wipe out was part of a Walker/GOP legislative assault on clean government protections that included legalizing candidate/outside financing coordination which had been probed in the "John Doe" investigations, banning the use of John Doe investigations into allegations of political corruption, and loosening campaign donation limits to bring more special interest funding into state campaigns:

Gov. Scott Walker has cemented key changes in time for the 2016 political campaign, signing into law bills giving campaign finance law its biggest makeover in decades and dismantling and replacing Wisconsin’s oversight board for elections and elected officials. 
Walker’s signing of the two bills, announced in a press release, was conducted in private Wednesday. It was widely expected after the bills passed the Legislature last month on votes that largely mirrored party lines.
All of which will help the GOP maintain its enormous legislative majorities that feed Walker the bills he wants and which will find rubber-stamped approvals if challenged in a 5-2 right-wing-ruled State Supreme Court where conservative justices share business and ideologically-driven donor groups with Walker and his legislative majorities.

Note also that this is the same legislature routinely obeisant to the divide-and-conquer Walker and his agenda-setting donors whose most recent gerrymandered redistricting, crafted in secrecy, was such an extreme attack on basic democratic governance that three federal judges 
just ruled 2-1 that the district maps had been drawn illegally to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

The 'chamber of commerce mentality' Walker installed atop the Department of Natural Resources that has steered rule-making and policy direction towards privatizing state land, water access and clean air enforcement has the same source and intention as the one-party, anti-democratic, corporately-directed GOP rule that has also trashed a century of civil service in the state, obstructed ballot box access so blatantly that a federal judge had to intervene, slashed the UW budget and long-standing tenure system, starved K-12 public school financing, and suppressed wages by nearly entirely wiping out public sector collective bargaining, further discouraged unionization in private-sector workplaces through 'right-to-work' legislation and has frozen the minimum wage to enrich corporate bottom lines at a rock-bottom, poverty-enforcing $7.25-per hour - - even designating it a "living wage."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the new state budget into law on Sunday with a last-minute change that strips the words “living wage” from state laws and replaces it with “minimum wage.
The change means minimum-wage Wisconsin workers will earn nearly $6,000 per year less than what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates is a living wage in the state. And they will have no recourse, according to the Center for American Progress. MIT says a living wage would be $10.13 an hour.
The new law eliminates the ability of low-wage workers to appeal for a living wage. Previously, Wisconsin law stated that employee pay “shall be not less than a living wage,” defined as “adequate to permit any employee to maintain herself or himself in minimum comfort, decency, physical and moral well-being.” Wisconsin’s living wage was tied to the state minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour.
In short, Wisconsin is less a democratic state in the traditional citizen-involved/shared-power sense and more an arm of the business community which, again, has wish lists awaiting tilted decision-making on what are really foregone conclusions:
*  Decision-making on the high-end golf course which Kohler Company wants to build in a Lake Michigan shoreline nature preserve filled with rare wetlands and dunes, Native American artifacts, wildlife and thousands of trees. 
As with some of the groundwater-depleting and runoff polluting feedlot expansions and other high-profile land transactionsa major Walker donor is involved and fair environmental procedures waived, as the DNR has proceeded with golf course project reviews in a taxpayer-paid smoothing process without a formal permit application in hand which the company would have to formally defend.
At some point, the DNR is going to have to decide whether to ask for that permit application: with DNR officials also on record saying they may allow some project permits to be written by the applicant and not by the agency - - the ultimate regulatory capitulation to donors and polluters - -  I could imagine Kohler eventually being allowed to write the final permit itself, since the DNR has already goosed the preliminaries along in the company's favor.
*  Decision-making on the precedent-setting 26,000-hog Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation, (CAFO), complete with nine football field-size manure storage containers and spreading operations set on several nearby farm fields, which an Iowa pork producer wants to locate close to scenic Lake Superior Chequamegon Bay.
Esquire's online columnist Charles P. Pierce routinely puts it this way:
...Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin...
And I see Pierce has changed it up a bit:
It's fitting that the current demand to audit/recount the presidential vote is centered on Wisconsin. The transformation of the state where so much of the progressive improvements to self-government began into the independent Republic of Griftsylvania (Scott Walker, assistant manager for sales) is one of the great triumphs of the money power and its lickspittles in modern American politics.


Anonymous said...

The 2-1 ruling was actually made by 2 US District Court judges within the 7th Circuit and 1 7th Circuit judge, not solely the 7th Circuit judges. See the 7th and 8th paragraphs of the linked NYT article. Judges Crabb (Western WI, appointed by President Carter), Ripple (7th Circuit, appointed by Reagan) and Griesbach (Eastern WI, appointed by GW Bush).

James Rowen said...

I corrected the judges'description. Thank you Anon.,1:08 p.m.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if provisional ballots will be included in the recount. Some were not counted the first time around:


Jake formerly of the LP said...

He's squawking a lot about this in the last 2 days. This guy's scared of what will be found out, and with 93,000 fewer votes on Wisconsin in 2016 vs 2012, I think I have a good idea why.

Tells me we need an audit and a recount more than ever.

Anonymous said...

I'm with on this one Jimmy, just make sure the Green Party is charged $15 per hr + 20% facility fee and double time Sat and Sunday and maybe $500 per week in lieu of benefits per employee. We'll call it "Green" stimulus.