Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The 10 percent solution

By Bill Kraus

I suppose the most important, and distressing, takeaway from the August 12 primary is that most of the races in the state Assembly and more than a few in the Senate were settled that day. They joined the large number of other candidates who had no opponent. To summarize: A majority of the state legislature was picked by 10 percent of the voters.

The fact that the primary is now held before the middle of August didn’t help. But, beyond that, wondering how important it is to require stringent identification standards to a process that doesn’t draw flies, it’s hard to figure out how to excite voters about being disenfranchised by gerrymandering. Or maybe that’s why they aren’t voting. Why bother when you and your votes don’t count? The voters are not stupid. They know that the game is rigged.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mushroom communications

Political leaders think we are best when kept in the dark.

By Bill Kraus

A couple of the tacit assumptions that made the founding fathers think that the democracy they were inventing would work have fallen on hard times.

They assumed there would be open, communicative, accessible, and responsive legislatures and legislators.

They assumed that there would be a common public communication system which would provide the voters with the information they needed to select their legislators and judge their performance.

In reverse order then…the common communication system was for most of our history the print press. It was not common in a monolithic sense, but it was journalistically comprehensive, maybe overly so.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Legislators or lemmings

By Bill Kraus

The candidate for the Assembly is running in a district which traditionally votes 70 percent Democratic, and he is running against an incumbent who once was mayor of a city within the district which comprises a substantial portion of the Assembly district.

This is not a promising opportunity.

He is running as a Libertarian.

This diminishes his already-almost-hopeless prospects of winning.

As we talked it became clear that he is about as libertarian as most Republicans are and he really should be running as a Republican.

Although the Republican who ran for the seat in 2012 got less than 30 percent of the vote, a Libertarian surely would have gotten even less.

So why isn’t he running as a Republican?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wisconsin Supreme Court Creates More Confusion With Voter ID Ruling

By Jay Heck and Jay Riestenberg

In a split decision last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said the state can require voters to produce a state-issued ID card at the polls but can’t require them to pay for it.

The ruling adds a new and confusing wrinkle to an already befuddling scenario for the November election. The state legislature has not created a mechanism for providing free-of-charge IDs to voters and the court didn’t impose one. Meanwhile, a federal district judge has blocked enforcement of the ID law on other grounds, declaring that it’s unconstitutional and violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

Talk about a rock and a hard place.

Some clarity may come from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to rule before Election Day on Wisconsin’s appeal of the district court ruling striking down the ID law. If, as expected, the appellate court also rules against the law, it would be a win for Badger State voters, providing some relief from the impact of a reduction of in-person absentee voting opportunities, elimination of weekend voting, and stringent new voter registration requirements.