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Request for immediate halt of recount denied

Today Judge James Peterson denied the request filed by two PACs supporting Donald Trump. The request asked fro an immediate temporary halt of the recount in Wisconsin. The judge ruled that allowing the recount to proceed would not hurt anything, and that the recount may proceed while the lawsuit makes its way through the federal court system. 

Judge Peterson has scheduled a hearing for the suit on Dec. 9. This is three days before the recount will need to be completed so that the results may be filed in time for the vote of the Electoral College.





Where did "The Feed" Go?

You may or may not have noticed that The Feed disappeared from the site today, and from the top menu. We've run that feature for several years now on the site.  It's a Rebelmouse page, and it has always been kind of a fun and nifty feature. Unfortunately Rebelmouse is changing quite a lot, and they've dropped their free plan,and the new non-free plans are way out of my price range. We were grandfathered in, but although they are doing a whole lot of neat stuff with their paid platform, things are not changing particularly on the free sites. There will be some more new stuff going on here and over on https://wis.community as time goes on, but The Feed is now dead here. 





Shilling Wins Recount

Word just in - Jennifer Shilling has been re-confirmed as the winner in the Nov. election against Dan Kapanke. We don't have official numbers yet.





Trump supporters file suit to stop recount

This is probably not a surprising move, but groups supporting Donald Trump have filed suit this morning to stop the recount in Wisconsin. The suit was filed by numerous plaintiffs including The Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC. 

The gist of the complaint is that there is not a consistent method for determining the intent of voters on ballots that may not be decisive. They are depending on the Bush v. Gore precedent as a defense of their position. In general the argument is that there is not a standard to ensure that votes will be treated equally in different jurisdictions. There is also not time to develop and promote a standard fast enough to make the deadline of the federal safe harbor law.  Reports appear to be that the elections commission is asking canvassers to continue the recount until such time that there is a legal decision.  Fasten your seatbelts, this will continue to be a bumpy ride. 





Live from Hudson, WI - the recount

I realize that in a lot of ways this is like watching the drying paint channel - but for those of you who are so inclined, this is the live video coverage of the Wisconsin recount from Hudson, WI - courtesy of The Uptake.





Smoke clears, recount to begin Thursday

As you will see in the Storify article below, a lot happened yesterday RE: the recount. Please follow the links in the Storify for external documents. 

The Stein campaign made a wire transfer to the state of 3.5 million dollars shortly before the deadline.  An interesting sidelight is that somehow when tallying the estimates of all of the counties, a mistake was made, and the Stein campaign was invoiced for 3.5 million when it should have been 3.9 million.  My guess is that the esitmates were probably high (if I were a county clerk I would have decided to err on the high side rather than the low side too) so this may all come out in the wash.  In any case, the Stein campaign will be on the hook for the total recount costs, and will be given a refund if the cost is lower than the estimate, so this may all come out in the wash.  The estimate was considerably higher than anyone anticipated, so Stein is off raising more money to cover the other states in which they are issuing recount petitions.

Drama unfolded late last night as Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that the Stein campaign had not met the rather strong standard in the law for requesting a totally hand recount. Therefore, individual counties will have the right to decide whether to use scanners to re-scan the votes filed by scanner ballots, or to hand count them .  In any case, all of the ballots are inspected as they are fed into the scanner. Votes made on totally electronic voting machines will be hand-counted from the paper tapes that provide an audit trail from those machines.  This is  long and laborious process - I did this as a volunteer during the last state-wide recall and it takes quite a while to count those votes and tabulate them. It is not clear how difficult it will be for the county canvasses to be completed by the deadline of 8 PM on Dec. 12, nor is it completely clear what will happen if the deadline is not met. 

The recount will start at 9 AM tomorrow morning. 





4:30 PM

The presidential recount in Wisconsin all boils down to 4:30 PM. 4:30 today is when the payment to the state is due to have the recount proceed. It's also the time that the hearing will take place in Madison to decide if the counties will be forced to do hand recounts of all ballots.

The list of estimated costs from the different counties also lists whether they intend to count all ballots by hand - it appears this is about a half and half mix. It's possible that a full hand recount will increase the cost of the recount, which the Stein campaign is already complaining about as being too high.  It will be an interesting afternoon in Madison.





The Best Idea for a Bill Comes from You!

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“Where do you get ideas for bills?” a woman at a café recently asked me.

“The best ideas for bills come from people like you,” I told her 

December begins a brief time of calm in the Capitol. But behind the scenes, lawmakers are working on new legislation. In the next few weeks I will be drafting bills to introduce in January. I am looking for your ideas!

Lawmakers will open the 103rd session of the Wisconsin Legislature on January 3rd. On that day, and for perhaps the next fifteen months, legislators will introduce roughly 1,800 bills or proposals.





The Wisconsin Recount - where we stand

Update - It appears the Stein campaign is going to sue to demand hand recounts of all ballots:

Since two recount petitions were filed for a Wisconsin recount of the presidental election, procedures for the recount are now under way. County clerks around the state are currently providing cost estimates for their recount efforts, and must provide both a cost and the method that will be used to recount optical scan ballots by the close of business today. 

The method issue is important. Current state law allows the different counties to select whether they will count the optical scan ballots by hand and visual inspection, or by feedting them through an optical scan tabulator. Since there are some practical issues with recounting with the scanner (needing to obtain a separate memory cartridge, calibrating and testing the machine, visually inspecting each ballot before scanning it, etc.) it's very possible that many of the jurisdictions will choose to hand count, since it is in a lot of cases easier and faster than doing it by scanner. This is complicated by the fact that the Jill Stein campaign has requested hand-counting of all ballots. If a number of counties are planning on counting ballots with a scanner, it's very possible the petitioning campaigns will attempt to receive a court order forcing hand counting of all of the ballots. 





Recount petitions received by Wisconsin Elections Commission

Recount petitions for the presidental election were received today by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, both from the Jill Stein campaign and from the De La Fuente campaign.  They were filed with a few hours to spare. The petitions and supporting documents are now up on the Elections Commission web site, which has been under a lot of strain this afternoon due to interest in the petitions. 

http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436

Personally I believe it's really unlikely that the recount will turn up anything beyond the normal distribution of slight clerical errors -- but the recount in Wisconsin is on.  The commission will have a press conference on Monday with details. The recount must be completed by December 13 by federal law, so this will be a very difficult thing to get done and will require quite a lot of extra work by county boards of canvassers. The recount needs to be completed in time for the Electoral College to cast votes.





School Budget Proposal Brings Needed Relief

Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Over the past four years, we have seen an increased reliance on referenda to keep the lights on,” State Superintendent Tony Evers announced as he released his school budget proposal.
 
“Around the state, local communities took the lead on funding reform through the ballot box, but the state has to be a good partner and do our share to help small town schools.”
 
Indeed. This year, Wisconsinites passed a record number of school referenda.
 
In the recent election, 82% of school referenda passed. Over the last four years, citizens in more than half of Wisconsin’s school districts voted to raise their property taxes to pay for schools.
 
Why? Because state spending for public schools this year is less than it was eight years ago, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This does not include public spending for the variety of private school options.




Trump settles Trump University suit

In a big surprise today, Donald Trump settled the Trump University civil suit in New York State for $25 million dollars. A statement was released on Twitter by the New York Attorney General - it is the attached image. Click on the image to enlarge it.





Draining the Swamp? Not So Much

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Trump's promise to "drain the swam" -





EPA Water Listening Session in Eau Claire

On Tuesday Nov. 15 approximately 300 people attended the EPA listening session at Chippewa Valley Technical College. The session was set up for the Administrator of US EPA’s Region V, Robert Kaplan to listen to citizens testifying about water quality in the state and to help determine if the EPA should take over the oversight of Wisconsin's compliance to the Clean Water Act. Wisconsin's DNR has been shrunk in size, and water quality enforcement has become much less of a priority, as the DNR is often not following its own rules or enforcing the law consistently. This is a (rather long) video of most of the citizen testimony on this issue. Many people testified at the meeting, requiring an extension of the meeting. The meeting was sponsored by the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Sierra Club Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lakes Association, Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin, and Clean Wisconsin

This unfortunately was the only such meeting held in the state, so may of the attendees had to drive in from other parts of the state that have been having water quality crises. You may submit your own written testimony to the EPA at the region 5 EPA web site . You may also find out more information about the situation in general at Clean Wisconsin and Midwest Environmental Advocates, who filed the original petition with the EPA.





Let's break the gerrymander. Here's how.

  Wisconsin is under one-party rule and it will remain that way under the current gerrymandered legislative districts.

  There are many districts now where it is pointless for the dems to put up a candidate. It is like leading a lamb to slaughter. 

  Instead the Democratic Party should perhaps think about taking the fight to the Republicans on their own turf and run primary candidates, listing themselves as Republicans and abandoning the inter-party contest altogether. The ersatz candidate would not need to hide his or her party background.  They would need however to have a populist message (minimum wage, voting rights, the environment,school funding) that would appeal to the independent voters. The dems could organize their base and with some luck, and a low-turnout election, the crossover dems and low-information Republican voters could deliver the goods.





Back to the Woods

By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“See that scrape?” Lisa pointed to a large area of bare dirt. “That’s not made by a tractor tire.”
 
“And look at the branches above,” she said. “They are all broken. The buck was standing here pawing his hooves and tossing his head.”
 
We were on the edge of one of our hay fields, just where the field dropped into a ravine. I could see over several pastures and fields to the northwest and through the woods to my neighbor’s pasture in the southeast – a commanding spot.
 
Lisa and I were tracking a big ten-point buck. I saw him many times - even running after a doe right outside my study window as I wrote last week’s column. He was muscular and alert with wide, heavy antlers – a deer hunter’s dream.




Here's How We Beat Those Frackers

Organize a bit more. That's it, with the corollary that we ought to consider supporting those involved in organizing. We do that we're home. Some details include extirpating the DNC pukes and replacing the lot with the like of Rep. Keith Ellison, (D-Minnesota), and hiring some folks and paying them a lot of money to reach out to the white, Christian, racist puke vote




Democratic Underground Hacked

So - in case you have been not paying attention due to a stupor of post-election depression, the popular lefty forum site Democratic Underground was badly hacked on election night and remains more or less down. It's believed that some user information may have been accessed during the hack. The site admins believe that password information was comparatively safe since the passwords were hashed in the site database.  I wouldn't put a lot of faith in that, so if you happened to have a password on Democratic Underground that you were re-using on other sites 

a:. Stop doing that

b. you probably ought to change your passwords elsewhere as a good cyber-hygiene practice.





The Mic and liberal talk radio gone from Madison

I will have rather a lot more to say about the political revolution that took place on Tuesday as time goes on, but I think one of the great ironies is that at the same time  that Donald Trump was elected president, liberal talk radio disappeared in Madison. The MIC, 92.1, is apparently going to be changing format. This is not a huge surprise in a lot of ways since I Heart Radio (formerly Clearchannel) has not been a big sympathizer for lefty causes. Still the timing is interesting. Nobody really knows what they are changing to, and apparently the current plan is to play Christmas music until the end of the year, at which time they will unveil their new format.

I am afraid this is a harbinger of things to come. We have just elected a president who has made it clear he does not believe in the first amendment and thinks that public figures should be able to sue those who disagree with them. All of this makes the need for community media and conversation more crucial. I'm trying to do something about that. Watch this space.





Trying to gather my thoughts.

A lot happened overnight. In many ways I think our country will never be the same. We have voted for sin due to fear. While I try to get my thoughts together, I'm going to give the floor to Keith Olbermann, who has something to say.  This is fairly close to my thoughts. 





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Today, October 19

  • Steve Hanson
    2:07pm

    Nineteen states have called for a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Representative Scott Allen won't even allow a public hearing on a resolution that would let Wisconsinites vote on this core issue of our timeWhile many politicians may like unlimited and often undisclosed campaign contributions, the rest of America is disgusted by it.

    Last week, Allen refused a request to have AJR 53 placed on the public hearing agenda, calling the advisory referendum, “politics at its worst”. Wisconsin law provides for advisory referendums. There was a statewide referendum in 2006 pertaining to the death penalty.

    "Politics at its worst"...really?? This is a cross-partisan issue. There are plenty of billionaires on both sides of the aisle. Both parties are raking in campaign cash. Money talks and the rest of us have no say.

    It’s outrageous that Chairman Allen won’t even allow this to be put on the agenda. This is the Constitution and Ethics Committee, after all. And Citizens United has torn a hole into our Constitution, drowning out our free speech rights as citizens, and ushering in all sorts of ethical problems.

    These resolutions (AJR 53 / SJR 54) were introduced by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Polls show a vast majority of Americans view our election system as corrupt. Special interest money has enormous political influence and everyday citizens feel they are getting no representation.

    “It is stunning that Republican Representative Scott Allen considers giving the average Wisconsinite the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box to be ‘politics at its worst,’” said Rep. Subeck. “Wisconsinites are fed up with the massive corporate and special interest spending Citizens United has ushered into our elections, and it is time to let them be heard.”

    Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

    Please contact ...

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