April 21, 2011

Wisconsin: Kloppenburg doubts your vote

JoAnne Kloppenburg, explaining her decision to seek a recount:
There are legitimate and widespread questions about the conduct of this election — most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state.
I suppose we'll be learning more about these legitimate and widespread questions in the days to come. It might be recalled that Kloppenburg emerged early the morning of April 6 the unofficial winner of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election by a couple of hundred votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast. I don't think there's any question the incumbent, Justice David Prosser, would have called for a recount had it not been for the eventual emergence of the fact that WaukCo. failed to report 14,000-odd ballots into the unofficial totals.

Those put Justice Prosser ahead by 7,316 votes. But not for that and those, it seems highly likely Kloppenburg's legitimate and widespread questions would have remained unasked.* Apart from a couple of instances — Winnebago County and maybe Eau Claire County — the difference between the unofficial and canvassed totals throughout Wisconsin's other 71 counties is negligible. They're probably not going to change when they're counted a fourth or an eighth time. And Kloppenburg might be better off leaving Winnebago County alone. She beat down Prosser's 66% in the February 15 primary to a Scott Walker-mandate-quality 52% on April 5. (Beyond WTMJ 620's reach, there are a great many devotees of Charlie Sykes's podcasts there.)

Prosser has already charged that Kloppenburg is not so much on a mission to discover Kloppenburg votes but to discredit Prosser ones.

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.
That's a weird thing to say. I'm not following the logic here. Votes are important in any event. That a divided number of them is around 50% doesn't make them any more or less so. It's just an Arabic numeral.

So the assertion that they are any more or less important makes for a questionable premise. Even if one accepts it, it doesn't follow that "doubts" about every individual vote are "magnified." Indeed, Kloppenburg's strange claim cries out for Justice Prosser's response, that Atty. Kloppenburg is off on a hunt for deficient Prosser ballots.

It's difficult to conceive Kloppenburg is doubting Kloppenburg votes.

And the word "magnifying" conjures that famous image of the guy in Florida counting the pulp fibers attaching a perforation to a hanging chad. I fear this is going be an unpleasant experience for everybody.

* She declared victory.


Art Hackett said...

I agree the chances of a reversal are slim at best. But when Prosser threatened legal action to block a recount, she had no choice but to ask for one. As I recall your pointing out, the law is based on a mathematical formula. To call for a legal challenge in that situation screams of fear there is something going on that he doesn't want uncovered.
The Supreme Court's reputation is far enough in the toilet as it is. Wisconsin doesn't need another Justice with a cloud over his head.

illusory tenant said...

Thanks, and understood. Personally I'm not impressed by what I hear from either campaign. What's causing the diminishment of the Supreme Court's reputation is the fact that its members are elected, and by extension the manner in which those elections are conducted. IMHO.

gnarlytrombone said...

Her repeated reference to "threats" jumped out at me. We've moved from non-partisan to partisan to personal.

Anonymous said...

Under the purported reasoning of the US Supremes in Bush v. Gore, a partial state recount is suspect and a recount of the entire state is more protective of each person's right to vote.

illusory tenant said...

Heh. That's exactly right.

Osori said...

Re: Bush v. Gore: remember the chestnut~
"Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances."


illusory tenant said...

Which admonition has been ignored by every federal district and circuit court presented with the opportunity not to ignore it ever since.

Anonymous said...