The Wisconsin recall elections were held over a month ago, yet Republican loser Van Waanggard has prevented the Democrats from taking control of the State Senate by demanding a recount and threatening a lawsuit to keep his seat.
The recount upheld Van Waanggards recall and named Democrat John Lehman the winner, however Lehman hasn't been sworn in because of the threat of a lawsuit to overturn the election result. Like other whining Republican losers, Van Waanggard claimed that voter fraud had occurred despite the fact that Gov. Scott Walker received a slim majority of the votes in his district in his own recall vote during that election. Today was the last day for Van Waanggard to decide if he would sue to overturn the results.
Democrat John Lehman won the election by more than 800 votes, but Wanggaard asked for a recount, citing what he called election irregularities. Lehman maintained his lead in the recount, and Wanggaard has spent the last week mulling whether to sue to try to reverse the results.
Democrats will hold a 17-16 majority in the Senate. But control of the Senate will again be up for grabs in the November election, when 16 of 33 seats are up.To find out why this is a BFD, join me below the DK Cheesedoodle.
Wanggaard said he would run for the Senate again in November 2014. At that point, a new map of the district will be in place that is much friendlier to Republicans.
I've been concerned because it was possible to tie up this seat indefinitely in order to sustain Republican control of the State Senate. That control would have enabled a Special Session to be called for ramming through more extremist legislation and would have prevented the Democrats from finally getting their hands on documents they've wanted for more than a year. Documents hidden by the majority party to hide their actions and discussions in a veil of secrecy.
Republican actions on things like redistricting were done secretly. Democrats have been continually refused access to the documents they needed to determine if any laws were broken in the redistricting process. State Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Mark Miller, has been trying to get his hands on the documents, but has been refused because the work was done at the behest of the "majority party" and were, therefore secret. He tried again when the resignation of Pam Galloway left the State Senate equally divided and him as the Co-Leader along with Repubican Scott Fitzgerald. Again, refused. State Senator John Erpenbach has been similarly rebuffed in this efforts to look into legislative matters.
Now, as Majority Leader, Mark Miller be able to access those documents and others.
Redistricting, done secretly by a private law firm at the behest of the GOP with no input from the public or Democrats, was challenged in court by community groups. The disappointing result, the change of only 2 districts which disenfranchised Latino voters, has created a vastly gerrymandered, Republican friendly district map which will be used for the next decade starting in November. It guarentees the GOP a virtual monopoly on majority control of our State Legislature for the next decade - and likely forever because their majorities will continue to gerrymander districts favorably to their party every time redistricting is done.
Of course, Van Waanggard is still snivelling about "voter fraud" (sorry, but the Wiscosin State Journal has gone behind a wall of 5 articles a month before a free account must be established):
Here is Wanggaard's full statement:More people are struck by lightening than vote illegally, yet the GOP keeps the "voter fraud" boogeyman alive to justify their attempts to ban voting while Democratic. Interesting to note that they don't display their voter fraud strawman when they win elections.
“Unfortunately, I only have 5 days from the end of the recount to develop a case to challenge the count of the election. This is not enough time to fully investigate the mountains of evidence and answer the questions that have arisen. This is especially true given the surprising lack of cooperation we have received from city officials in our requests. The investigation into irregularities does not stop today. The investigation will continue and evidence discovered will be provided to law enforcement.
“The seemingly never-ending delay by Dane County judges preventing implementation of Wisconsin’s voter ID law undoubtedly played a role in this recall election. Even if I were to challenge and win in Racine County court, an appeal to that challenge would be heard in the Madison’s Court of Appeals. A challenge would also be extremely costly to taxpayers, who have already been forced to waste $20 million on the recall election.
“Despite pleas from around the state to challenge the election, it is not in the best interests of Racine, or Wisconsin, at this time. Now is the time to focus on gaining the state senate back in November, winning Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, and electing Governor Romney as President.
“The count of the ballots – those cast appropriately and those that may not have been - shows my opponent with more votes. I hope John Lehman learned the lesson of his defeat in 2010, and pursues a more job-friendly agenda in office.
“As for me, I have spent my entire adult life in service to our community. The June election will not stop that dedication to service. I will be a candidate for the 21st Senate District at the next election. As General Douglas MacArthur once said, “I shall return.””
While the soon to be State Senate Democratic won't be able to overturn legislation (our State Assembly has such a large Republican majority that Democrats don't need to show up to establish quorum), it will prevent a special session being called to ram through any additional extremist legislation.
It will be hard to maintain that majority since the new gerrymandered districts will be in place for the November elections, however, it's good to have it right now.
PS: Nothing new on the John Doe Probe, but I'm still watching for anything that comes out.
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UPDATE: The Government Accountability Board has announced that they will certify John Lehman as the winner of the recall election on Wednesday. He can, and should, be sworn in after that. See the expanded article I linked at the top.
MORE: I Wonder How Much They're Loving Kathy Nicklaus Now Edition: Ouch.
It's going to cost the taxpayers of Waukesha County over a quarter of a million dollars to fix County Election Clerk Kathy Nicklaus's "human errors.
A consultant's report traces problems in reporting Waukesha County election results directly to mistakes by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus - mistakes that will cost county taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars to fix.
The embattled county clerk already was under scrutiny because of her role in the 2011 state Supreme Court race, when she left the entire city of Brookfield out of countywide vote totals. When those 14,000 votes were added in, two days after the election, Justice David Prosser had won by 7,000 votes, instead of narrowly losing to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, as the original count showed. But the uncertainty over the Waukesha County vote led to a statewide recount that confirmed Prosser's victory.The scrutiny increased after members of the press were forced to wait for hours for election results in April and wade through miles of posted raw data tapes. Reminder: Don't piss off the press or deny them their beauty sleep. If you do, they'll forget they're RW leaning corporate controlled tools of the GOP and start printing the facts and truth rather than hide your glaring errors.
SysLogic linked the April problems to an upgrade that Nickolaus ordered in the county's election software before the balloting. The firm found that Nickolaus was the only person trained to program the upgraded software, but she "did not follow the proper protocol, resulting in the failure of the functionality to compile election results," the fund transfer ordinance says.
At the time, Nickolaus had said that when her staff tried to upload results from voting machine memory packs into the reporting program, it wouldn't work.
After Nickolaus stepped aside, Command Central LLC, the Minnesota election software vendor, wasn't able to arrange training for other county staffers until late August, Cummings said. That led the county to hire Command Central to program the software itself for the May 8 recall primary, the June 5 recall general election and the upcoming Aug. 14 primary, at a cost of $237,300, he said.That last line is truly funny when you realize that for far to many elections Nicklaus has been the only person handling results on her own personal office computer that no one else has access to.
Later in August, Command Central will train Deputy County Clerk Kelly Yaeger and a county information technology staffer in programming the software for $4,000, the funding measure says. Without that training, the county would have to spend another $67,600 for Command Central to handle the programming for the Nov. 6 general election, the measure says.
"We can't take the chance with only one person knowing it (the programming)," Cummings said.
The SysLogic report cost $15,000, for a total of $256,300 to investigate and fix the election reporting problems, the funding measure says.
Good thing she's not running for re-election.