Governor Walker Wrong On Voter ID (Again)

I suspect, deep down, most Wisconsinites knew that at some point a judicial ruling would start to roll back the partisan attacks on the freedom of casting a ballot in our state.  In our minds we knew the nationwide attempt by Republicans to stymie the power of certain demographics to cast a vote would be undone.   Nothing ever happens as fast as desired so we waited and watched as more and more states wrangled with legal filings over all sorts of laws that curtailed voters’ rights.

Then came Friday and strong rulings from federal judges were handed down first in North Carolina and then here in the Badger State which sternly slapped back at the idea that limiting the capability of minority voters was in any way acceptable from a constitutional perspective.  ( I was deeply heartened with the North Carolina decision as it came from a federal appellate court.)

Judge James Peterson of Federal District Court emphatically ruled in a 119-page decision that parts of Wisconsin’s 2011 voter ID law are out-and-out unconstitutional. He ordered the state to make photo IDs more easily available to voters and to broaden the range of student IDs that are accepted at the ballot box.

His ruling also included the removal of other onerous elements that Republicans had placed into law which were designed solely to limit voting of Democrats and minorities. He ruled against lengthening the residency requirement for newly registered voters, ruled against banning distributing absentee ballots by fax or email, ruled against the sinister attempt by partisans to restrict the locations and times at which municipal voters, many of them Milwaukee blacks, could cast absentee ballots in person.

It was most clear after Friday that the plan by Republicans to suppress votes had met a most stern rebuke from the judiciary.

Peterson hit on a point that has rankled me from the start about how Wisconsin ever passed such an awful and needless piece of legislation.

The evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that voter ID laws foster integrity and confidence. The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections.

Over and over I have simply asked Republicans who support the harsh voter ID law to back up the need for such action in our state with proof of voter fraud.  They simply can not do it as data shows that nothing nefarious was happening at the polling places in Wisconsin.

There were no streams of voters pretending to be someone else, or voting twice. There were no throngs of folks using fake aliases to cast a ballot, and there were no elections that had been decided by all the wild claims.  The only drama that takes place regarding elections are when Republicans breathlessly try to gin up their base with false-hoods about voter fraud.

That is why a federal judge needed to intervene in a such a dramatic way this past week.

I have also harped on the fact that no Republican was able to stand up in the legislature and produce any court cases, judge’s rulings, or names of those who cast fraudulent votes. If there was such rampant voting abuses why did the attorney general not investigate them?

So with all that as background it was especially galling to read the response from Governor Walker to the federal ruling.

We are disappointed in the decision by an activist federal judge.  Voters support common-sense measures to protect the integrity of our votes. Voting should be easy, but cheating should be hard.

It is always interesting to note that judges are only activist when ruling against the wishes of conservatives.  But most troubling in his statement is the continued inference that our electoral process in the state is being abused by voter fraud.  Walker is playing to the lowest common denominator and not telling the truth.

Voter ID remains one of the most shameful actions taken by Wisconsin Republicans.  When given the chance to back away from it they double down on their own falsehoods.

Simply shameful.


Now It Is All About The Electoral College And How Clinton Prevails

The mapping out of how Hillary Clinton wins is now underway in full throttle.  And one of the keys is Pennsylvania, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Democrats have won Pennsylvania in every presidential election since 1992, and one reason the party chose Philadelphia for its convention is to keep the state in its column. The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll, taken before the parties’ conventions, shows Mrs. Clinton leads in the state by nine points. Still, Mr. Trump’s ability to connect with white working-class voters, roughly half of the state’s voting population, gives Republicans hope that they can carry the state this year. The Clinton campaign’s challenge is to make sure Mr. Trump doesn’t tally enough votes in white, rust-belt regions to overcome her significant advantage among educated suburbanites and minorities in and near Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Although the state’s union affiliation has fallen to 13% from 17% in 2000, it is still above the national average, and substantial—about 750,000 workers. Mrs. Clinton has won the endorsement of nearly every major union, and her labor allies have begun to lobby members and families through door-to-door canvassing, literature mailings, and one-on-one conversations.

The Clinton team believes it has another major advantage: demographic changes. Since 2000, Pennsylvania has gone from being 84% white, non-Hispanic, to 77%, and the five Western Pennsylvania counties have seen slight population losses over that time.

The four counties around Philadelphia, meanwhile, are less white and much more affluent and have gained 170,000 in population since 2000. In the latest Journal/NBC/Marist Poll, Mrs. Clinton lost nearly every region of the state by single digits, other than Philadelphia and it suburbs. But she won the latter two areas, which account for nearly one-third of the state’s voting population, by huge margins: 74% to 12% in Philadelphia, and 55% to 26% in the Philadelphia suburbs.

If You only Read One Thing Today—

–this should be it.   A short article.

From Quartz.

If Hillary Clinton, now officially the Democratic candidate, wins election in November, she’ll make history, and not just as America’s first female president. It would mean that for the first time ever, three of the world’s most powerful democracies would be led by women: the US, the UK, and Germany. What might that mean?

Management experts studying leadership say women are more collaborative, more inclusive leaders. They build teams; in Clinton’s words, they understand it “takes a village” to run a country, and the world. They do not believe, as Donald Trump does (and not just him: many men do), that they “alone can fix it.” The US, UK, and Germany all face the big challenges of the rich world today: immigration, terrorism at home and abroad, and a revolt against the one percent.

It’s easy to imagine Clinton sitting down with Britain’s Theresa May and Germany’s Angela Merkel to hash out solutions to shared problems. It’s also easy to see this troika of women developing a cohesive approach towards Russia, Iran, China, Syria, and other countries whose interests often run counter to those of the West. A Trump in that mix? He and his associates look uncomfortably cozy with Russia, and a Trump-Putin axis would be a lot more dangerous for the world than a Clinton-Merkel-May one.

Gender should not be the deciding factor in electing someone to the world’s most powerful office. But the female leadership style Clinton espouses seems more attuned to the needs of the world now. One thing’s for sure: She’s unlikely to brag about the size of her hands, or anything else.

—Janet Guyon

The Democratic Convention Speeches Fox ‘News’ Didn’t Show

No one is surprised. 

Fox News did not air several speeches from the 2016 Democratic National Convention that focused on gun violence, equality, immigration, national security, and reproductive rights. Here are some of the speeches they ignored.

You will not be stunned to know Fox did not cover what people from all parties are saying was the most profound speech from any convention in our lifetime.

A Democratic Generation

My James often talks about the 12 years of Republican rule in the White House during the Ronald Reagan and George Bush presidencies.  Those were the years he was a boy–James was only 7 years old in 1980.   Would it not be nice, he says, if the current generation could have 12 years of Democratic presidents.

I tell him that Donald Trump is working every day to make it so.

In 2008 I stated on this blog after the election Obama would be a transformative politician for the nation.    I based that on the states he carried, the fact he was our first African-American leader, and the issues that he wanted to not just talk about but align our time in history with so to work at resolving.    Obviously the absolute contempt from the GOP–much of it based on racism–about the victory by Obama and his move to mend the broken fabric of the nation has not made it possible for him to reach the length of his desires as president.

But with Hillary Clinton as the next president the generation now coming of age will experience more of that transformation which Obama ushered in with his election.

Today Politico reports Sen. Chuck Schumer  “is feeling good enough about the battle for Senate control to essentially predict he’ll be majority leader next year. Not only that, the veteran New York Democrat believes his party is on the cusp of something much bigger: An era of electoral dominance.”

Schumer added that “We’re going to have a Democratic generation. President Obama helped create it. But it’s just where America’s moving demographically, ideologically and in every way. We’ll have a mandate to get something done.”

America needs to have a government that continually reflects the diverse nation we call home.  We know which party allows that to happen.

Voter ID Laws In North Carolina Are Racist–Ruled To Be Discriminatory

A federal appeals court has struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law, holding that it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.”  That hardly comes as any surprise to those who have followed the voter ID ‘rationale’ that has been used by Republicans all over the nation.

The ruling today also invalidated changes the state made in 2013 to early voting, same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration.  The list of attempts made by conservatives to undermine the ability of Americans to cast a ballot is stunning and sickening.

North Carolina could seek to appeal the decision to the full bench of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely those courts will step in to restore the voter ID law and other voting-related changes in advance of the November election.

That is good news as the people need to have a clear and unfettered means of casting a ballot for the 2016 presidential election and other offices down ballot.

Rashad Sultan Khan And The Democratic Convention



The words from the father of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan brought tears to this household as he stood on the stage of the Democratic Convention.

Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American Army captain who died in combat, delivered arguably the week’s most stinging critique against Trump. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country. Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy”

Simply so heartfelt.

The New Colossus – Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A might woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips.  “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Madison City Clerk, Maribeth Witzel-Behl, Must Answer To Taxpayers Over Ruined Voting Tabulators

It appears that it takes more than one flooding incident to make an impression on Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl.

It was reported that the downpour last week in one of this season’s harshest thunderstorms flooded the election equipment storage space where City of Madison ballot tabulators were placed.   As the damage from the water was evaluated it appears that the circuit boards of 17 tabulators were severely impacted.

Along with the equipment some of the ballots for the upcoming August Primary were also damaged to the point they need to be reprinted.

Due to the need for properly working machines for the primary the manufacturer will send loaner machines for the exact counting of one of our democracy’s most valued rights.    That is the good aspect to this otherwise sorry set of events.

Following the primary all the machines will be dismantled and checked for corrosion.  There were nearly a hundred voting machines at this storage facility.

Why this story is troubling goes beyond the heavy rain and the collapsed roof of the storage facility.   As WMTV (Channel 15) reported tonight this is the second time flood waters have impacted voting tabulators at this facility.

After the first time the machines were ruined by rainwater it would have seemed an evaluation would be in order  so to make sure the same problem did not happen again.  Clearly that thought process did not take place.

Taxpayers have a right to ask why that did not happen.  Members of the city council might want to find an answer as well.