Monday, May 16, 2011
Editorial Board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined a growing chorus expressing exasperation that JoAnne Kloppenburg failed to see her own recount folly.
Among other things, Kloppenburg's ballot bag security complaint has been rendered just a theory because the recount votes have not varied much from the canvass and election night tallies. If ballot bag security issues reflected either inaccuracies or fraud, it would have shown up in recount totals which varied from prior counts. But it did not. It's just a theory.
Yet Kloppenburg is digging in deeper, writing an Op-ed published this evening at the Journal Sentinel website, in which Kloppenburg stands by her decision for a statewide recount and again pushes the ballot bag security claim:
The recount has uncovered significant and widespread errors and anomalies in the securing of ballots and recording of votes on election day. There have been changes to vote totals in every county due to miscounted or missing votes.
Many bags of ballots have been found to be essentially unsealed or ripped to the extent that ballot security is compromised. A stack of ballots, unbagged, was found in a clerk's office. Ballots were found in voting machines where they had been left. Seal numbers on ballot bags and tags were not recorded in the inspector's reports, creating doubt that the bags were properly sealed on election night.
Touchscreen voting machine tapes were missing votes, or worse, were entirely blank and had to be reproduced from machine memory to allow a recount of the vote.
The most widespread and systemic errors and anomalies have been discovered in Waukesha County. That county was already under a cloud, and this recount has revealed more questions about elections practices there.No election is perfect, and if the gap were a few hundred votes, one could understand Kloppenburg fighting to the bitter end over every vote.
Yet the gap was not a few hundred votes, it was 7316. Kloppenburg seems incapable of grasping this reality.
Kloppenburg resembles someone on a soapbox yelling that the world is going to end tomorrow, and then tomorrow is back up on the soapbox claiming the world is going to end tomorrow, and so on and so on. The theory does not meet with reality, but it's such a great theory it can't be abandoned.
Kloppenburg says in the Op-ed that she has not yet made a decision about going to court to challenge the results, but this passage from her Op-ed seems to reflect that she wants to do so:
This election was close, and there were many who have expressed doubts about whether it was clean. The right to vote is fundamental. It is a right that courageous people fight and die for every day. In America, that right carries with it a promise: that elections are fair and open, that election results are untainted by deceit or fraud and that the electoral process provides every eligible voter with an equal opportunity to privately and independently cast a ballot."Fundamental" rights and "equal opportunity." Those are terms large enough for Kloppenburg to drive a 50-page brief through, regardless of the facts.
Thankfully for the people of Wisconsin, Kloppenburg with not be on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, because her conception of fundamental rights and equal opportunity appears to be divorced from the reality we all see with our own eyes.
Update: Steve Eggleston reports that the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is reacting harshly to Kloppenburg's ballot bag security claims, issuing this statement:
Questions about the authenticity of ballots have arisen during the recount process due to holes in some ballot bags, gaps in their closure or issues with security tags. A hole in a ballot bag or a missing security tag is not enough evidence alone to discard the ballots inside. The ability to put a hand into a ballot bag is not by itself evidence of fraud....Ouch.
During a recount, the people in charge of recounting the ballots are not the people who handled and counted the ballots on Election Night. If the ballots had been tampered with between the election and the recount, there would be a break in the chain of custody and an unexplained difference in the results....
So far, we have found no significant, unexplained variances of vote totals. Staff will continue to review Waukesha County’s results as they come in each day until the recount is complete.