I have been wanting to hear from her, felt we really needed her voice in this, and today we have. The woeful Journal Sentinel gave her space on their Op-Ed page and you can read her essay here. An excerpt:
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.
In order to make that promise real, there are appropriate and established steps that help make sure the outcome of elections, when in doubt, can withstand scrutiny. That, no more and no less, is exactly why this recount is so important.
Still, the fact that Nickolaus's computer has still not been ceased and analyzed by competent federal investigators - since the state refuses to do it - means that Waukesha County's vote count will remain under a cloud as long as she is allowed to operate in this fashion. The article in the JS about her the other day only increases reasons for concern.
Yes, Kloppenburg has done our state a great service. The importance of the recount was not about whether or not she wins in the end, it's about whether or not the result is accurate and trustworthy.
Since the advent of computerized voting, problems have arisen all across the country. Some programs have proven to be quite 'hackable,' and the companies making the machines have also been way-too-close to the Repub Party (one example, and here's another, and another). Now let's couple this story of the vulnerability of computerized vote tallies with Nickolaus's refusal to allow her computer to be examined, her practice of keeping it at home, and her old relationship with Prosser and other Repubs - and, sorry Repubs, if there are no problems here then let the Feds at it so that this can be proven and we all can be reassured.
Again, the latest example - Senate Bill 95, which proposes sweeping changes in state mandates on education. You can read the substance here. For the purpose of this post, my concern is this:
Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) noted that details about the bill were released only one business day earlier, on Friday, by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
"I'm pretty sure if there had been more notice on this, this room would have been packed," she said, looking at the meager crowd of about 30 people.
Once again, Assembly and Senate Repubs are trying to pass their agenda by stealth, moving things through so quickly and with the kind of timing that ensures no one can mount a meaningful pushback. This is an old nefarious practice of undemocratic players holding majorities in legislatures - put the stuff out late on a Friday and surprise everyone with hearings and votes on Monday.
The Walker/Fitzgerald regime does not want popular democracy to function, friends. They do not want it to function. The media - the JS and TV stations - are all complicit, virtually ignoring a rally of 10,000 folks on a cold windy Saturday called out in just 2 weeks time. They completely ignored the voices that spoke out there, from Sen. Jon Erpenbach to Mahlon Mitchell of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin to Sarah Lloyd of Family Farm Defenders to an undocumented high school student and more, but most of all the constituencies represented by those 10,000 people.
People operate in the shadows when they fear democracy, when they have hidden agendas, when they know they are viscerally unpopular but want to control us for the sake of that agenda. By requesting a recount, JoAnne Kloppenburg has helped put a spotlight on one of the greater dangers to our democracy - the threat to the integrity of the vote. I thank her for that.
Photos: Margaret Swedish