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General News    H1'ed 3/29/12

Ernest A. Canning on the "War for Wisconsin"

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My guest today is Ernest Canning, frequent contributor at The Brad Blog. Welcome to OpEdNews, Ernie. You've been covering what's going on in Wisconsin with the recall of their governor, Scott Walker. Most of our readers are not from Wisconsin. Can you give us a little background before we jump in with the latest developments?

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The recall movement in Wisconsin was triggered when Scott Walker and the GOP legislature in WI, in the wake of the 2010 election, began ramming through ALEC model legislation, including a bid to destroy the effectiveness of WI public unions and vote suppressing, photo ID legislation.

See, Gov. Walker's Wisconsin 'Union Busting' Exposes 'Tea Party' Scam, Duped Americans

That process has been accelerated and complicated by an ongoing criminal investigation that has implicated Walker in alleged political crimes that may have been committed while Gov. Walker served as the Milwaukee County Executive.

Prosecutors May be Closing in on Walker as WI Gov Implicated In Criminal Complaint Against Aides

Originally, it was thought that the Walker folks would nip the recall in the bud by challenging enough of the signatures so that the recall effort would fail, but that didn't happen. How come?

The recall campaign obtained nearly one million signatures, which was nearly double the amount required. The Friends of Scott Walker sought to impede the recall by seeking a court order that shifted the burden of proof for challenging recall signatures from the Walker camp to the state's Government Accountability Office. They initially succeeded at the trial level.

See, 1 Million Recall Signatures vs. 1 Partisan Judge

In that case, a Republican judge in Waukesha not only ignored the language of the controlling statute, but excluded the Democratic Party and recall proponents by denying their motion to intervene. That ruling was overturned on appeal, and the appellate court vacated the decision to shift the burden to the GAO.

Walker's camp was only able to challenge between 10% and 15% of the recall signatures, which was nowhere near the amount required to disqualify the petition.

So, now the recalls are set for a May primary election and a June general election.

Let's turn to another aspect of the Walker administration. The WI GOP has worked hard to impose mandatory photo IDs on the voting population. What's that fight all about and why is it such a big deal?

Photo ID laws are a part of a coordinated, nationwide voter suppression drive by the GOP designed to make it more difficult to register to vote, more difficult to cast a vote and more difficult to insure that one's vote is counted. That effort was described by Judith Brown Dianis, a civil rights litigator who testified at last September's hearings before the U.S. Senate, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

The BRAD BLOG provided detailed coverage of those hearings:

U.S. Senate Hearings on New GOP Voter Suppression Laws [Part 1 of 2] - Photo ID Restrictions and the Disastrous Return of Hans von Spakovsky


U.S. Senate Hearings on New GOP Voter Suppression Laws [Part 2 of 2] - Restrictions on Registration, Early Voting and YOUR Right to Vote...

Photo ID laws are essentially a solution in search of a problem. The "Big Lie" entails the canard that such laws are needed to prevent "voter fraud." The only type of voter fraud that can be prevented by polling place photo ID laws is in-person voter impersonation--a problem that is virtually non-existent. As revealed by the written Senate testimony of Loyola Law Prof. Paul Levitt, only nine out of more than 40 million votes cast since 2000 have been identified as "possibly" being the result of voter impersonation. People are struck by lightning more frequently.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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