John Fund says the Wisconsin Supreme Court election snafu is a wakeup call.
Wisconsin voters went to the polls on April 5 in an election that could have flipped the state Supreme Court's majority from conservative to liberal. On the morning of April 6, liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory by a margin of some 200 votes. But the next day Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced that she had excluded some 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield when she gave her final tally to the Associated Press on election night. The revised tally put conservative incumbent David Prosser more than 7,000 votes ahead of Ms. Kloppenburg, and he has since been verified the clear winner.
Ms. Nickolaus's error could have been easily avoided through transparency. She had ended the prior clerk's practice of reporting election results for individual cities because it was "not her responsibility" and she didn't "have the staff to enter all the data"—an absurd statement given that many smaller counties post such data on their websites. Many states, such as Kentucky, offer user-friendly websites to track returns statewide.
The Carter-Baker commission noted that "the electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters." Eighteen of the 21 commission members called for voters to show photo ID at the polls and for more security for absentee ballots.
Some states have since adopted photo ID laws. But too many (like Wisconsin) still do not require any ID to vote. In a time of razor-thin election margins, we can no longer afford such insecurity in our election process.
And guess who opposes photo ID laws.
Some history: Last November in a race for state rep for the 6th Worcester District, Peter Durant beat incumbent Geraldo Alicea by one vote. Rather than declare Durant the victor, a judge later decided that a new vote was in order starting with a new primary. Both candidates faced primary challangers. The primary was held last Tuesday, and it was won by Alicea and Durant. Two independents, Boria and Cirba also qualified to be on the May ballot.
The reason for the request for the DOJ involvement is this billboard. The Southbridge Town Manager, Christopher Clark decided that the presence of the billboard is in itself voter intimidation. Clark contacted Eric Holder’s DOJ, and they are awaiting a decision on whether the same DOJ that determined that Black Panthers with billy clubs at a Philadelphia polling place were not a threat, will decide the white lady on the billboard, is a threat.
This might explain why the Bay State is often called "The People's Republic of Massachusetts."