June 6, 2012

What happened in the Wisconsin senate recall elections?

There were 4 other elections yesterday (beyond governor and lt. governor), and in one of them, the Democrat seems to have won:
But Democrat John Lehman of Racine defeated Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard in a fourth state Senate contest. Mr. Wanggaard hasn't conceded yet, and the result is close enough—Mr. Lehman won by fewer than 800 votes out of more than 70,000 cast, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel—that a recount may be warranted. If Mr. Lehman's win holds, Democrats will have a 17-16 majority in the Senate.

That would give the Democrats bragging rights but little else given that the Wisconsin Senate is out of session for the rest of the year. Moreover, elections are in November, and 16 of the 33 Senate seats are being contested. The new district maps that have been drawn give Republicans an advantage in the fall. So even if Democrats now control the state Senate due to yesterday's results, few political observers expect them to hold it for long.
So is a recount worth doing? What do you think of this as a standard: If the numbers were the other way around, and the Republican had won by 800 out of 70,000 cast, would the Democrats be seeking a recount?

41 comments:

Patrick said...

What the Democrats would do should not be a standard. I've little doubt that they would seek a recount, but I very much hope the Republicans do not seek a recount.

James said...

There are reports of numerous irregularities in the Racine senate vote; mostly about same day registrations. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Republicans pursue them.

Matthew Sablan said...

A recount really would be a waste of money and drag this out longer.

Matthew Sablan said...

Though, if those reports of "irregularities" are true, then maybe I could see it. If they honestly feel the vote was stolen, then go for it. But, if they just hope to hang a few chads or whatever to swing the vote, that's not a good reason.

James said...

I've also heard about trucks driving around offering people $100 to vote.

Yesterday afternoon a caravan of about eight vehicles drove past my home. The middle vehicle was a blue minivan with a loudspeaker mounted and they were urging people to go out and vote for the Democrats. I ran to get my camera but they were gone by the time I got back.

Scott M said...

Please explain to me why WI citizens have to pay the salaries of state senators that aren't in session for six months? I'm sure they can find little bullshit busywork projects, but...seriously...six months?

BarryD said...

I think that the integrity of the electoral process is extremely important, and that this justifies doing a recount regardless of who wins. The perception of integrity is important, as well -- though of course it must be backed up by actual integrity.

It seems really stupid to attempt to recall state senators at all, under these circumstances, BTW. Insane, really. Would the money not have been better spent by the Democrats, on their candidates in November? Or do they figure that November will be such a rout for the Democrats, nationwide, that they want an incumbent's advantage if they can get it?

CJinPA said...

That would give the Democrats bragging rights but little else given that the Wisconsin Senate is out of session for the rest of the year

Is it really a sure thing that the Dems won't be able to call a session and wreak havoc?

Just wondering, because I think they (their supporters, really) have lost all sense of reason. Could they convene the Senate and vote to repeal the reforms just for the hell of it? I assume you have another chamber, a House, but…

Jay said...

Yes there should be a recount.

cubanbob said...

The republicans should go after the democrats hammer and tong. If there are voting irregularities they should be exposed. Give the democrats their own medicine.

Matthew Sablan said...

Well, Blogger ate my follow up. If this is to smoke out irregularities/fraud, fine. Do it. If it is just to try and shake the votes and see if you can twist the numbers, don't.

elkh1 said...

So even if Democrats now control the state Senate ... few political observers expect them to hold it for long.
So is a recount worth doing?

Nope, for goodness sake, save the poor Wisconsinites who were forced to spend 18 millions on the recall a little tax dollars. The Republicans can remind their base not to stay on their butts comes Nov.

CJinPA said...

Another question:

Do you folks have to do all of this again in two years (meaning, beginning NEXT YEAR)?

Mercy.

Jay said...

If the numbers were the other way around, and the Republican had won by 800 out of 70,000 cast, would the Democrats be seeking a recount?

If the R had won by 8,000 votes out of 70,000 cast, the Dems would be recounting.

Michael Haz said...

There will most likely be a canvass of the votes in this contest.

There appears to be some irregularities, including out-of-state voters, and votes for Lehmann coming from a subdivision of mostly empty lots.

Jonathan Saunders said...

Don't do what they do.
They do not care how much taxpayer dollars they spend and we do care.
They do not care how much they cheat...we do.

Basically, we are in every aspect superior the them...most especially morally.

They have minimal bragging rights and zero power....let them have their empty seats.

Matthew Sablan said...

"There appears to be some irregularities, including out-of-state voters, and votes for Lehmann coming from a subdivision of mostly empty lots."

-- That's a valid reason to check the votes and see what's legit. That's the real issue with voter fraud; if you don't stop it at the point, if the ballot ever intermingles with others, the damage is done and cannot be undone without knowing which ballot is contaminated, which requires a very tight chain of custody to prove (if it is provable at all!)

Crimso said...

"Is it really a sure thing that the Dems won't be able to call a session and wreak havoc?"

The Repubs should then flee out of state. To Canada, perhaps. They wouldn't be welcome in Illinois.

traditionalguy said...

Make the vote raudsters sweat some. Recount and verify the same day registrations.

James said...

There appears to be some irregularities, including out-of-state voters,

That's consistent with what I've heard. I know several people who live in Northern Illinois who voted in Kenosha and Racine in 2008 so I'm not surprised to hear about this.

the wolf said...

A recount is warranted in an election that close. I would support a recount whether by a Dem or Rep.

Freeman Hunt said...

It depends on context. The Democrats would ask for a recount in any context,but who cares? Why do what they do?

If there is, however, legitimate suspicion of irregularities, then a recount is warranted.

edutcher said...

Definitely recount.

Don't let the Demos have a thing.

Bryan C said...

There's nothing inherently wrong or wasteful about calling for a recount. Democrats abuse a legitimate procedure to act out and punish voters. That doesn't mean that it's not legitimate. Don't let the abusers own the only tools we have to stop abuse.

Ann Althouse said...

If there appear to be irregularities (enough to suggest the 800 vote gap could close), then there should be a recount.

I like this idea that Republicans shouldn't copy the antics of Democrats, but it is important not to let outright fraud work.

Also, as we approach a final judicial determination on the voter ID law, it's important for the factual context — is there fraud? — to be developed. The Democratic line has long been: There's no fraud of any importance. If we decline to look at what might be fraud, the false perception continues. And that strengthens the position of those who are challenging the constitutionality of the voter ID law.

Freeman Hunt said...

The important thing is that voters know the election was legitimate. Democracy isn't workable if the voters feel they cannot trust the results. If there are reasons to believe that the count might be inaccurate or that there are invalid votes, do a recount. If not, don't.

kcom said...

I would now that Racine would be right on the route of that Michigan bus convoy.

kcom said...

I would note...

Petunia said...

Recount. 800 votes out of 70,000 is just over 1%. That's worth recounting even without the reports from that district of union busses coming in from Michigan, people coming from Illinois to vote, same-day registrations being allowed even when the "voter" was holding an index card with their name and address on it, and union intimidation of at least one poll-watcher.

It DOES matter even if there is no scheduled session until January. To change the recall rules in the state Constitution, the legislature has to pass an amending bill in two separate sessions separated by a general election.

If they call a special session and pass it this summer, and again in January after the November election, the issue could go to referendum in the spring, and by this time next year, the state Constitution could be amended so that STUPID, POINTLESS recalls like these can't happen again.

If Wanggaard loses, and the bill isn't passed now, the soonest the recall provision could be amended is early 2015. Although I would hope that anyone trying a recall movement now would just get laughed at.

Just as I am going to laugh at any protestors I see when I drive around the Square later today.

DADvocate said...

Democrats woulnd't need a recount. They'd find a couple of thousand votes in the trunk of somebody's car.

RonF said...

I'm sure that whoever ends up getting a paycheck for the rest of the year at the taxpayers' expense thinks it's worth it to have a recount. Besides, it's not impossible (theoretically) that Gov. Walker could call the Legislature into special session.

Michael said...

Recount. Recount until you win.

Luke Sneeringer said...

Is the recalled seat one of the 16 that is up in November? If it's not, then there's a strong(er) case for a recount. If it is, then a recount is a pointless endeavor.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Prof. Althouse,

Also, as we approach a final judicial determination on the voter ID law, it's important for the factual context — is there fraud? — to be developed. The Democratic line has long been: There's no fraud of any importance. If we decline to look at what might be fraud, the false perception continues. And that strengthens the position of those who are challenging the constitutionality of the voter ID law.

Yes, there is that. But the real security hole is the same-day registrations without ID. If a recount would include a look at those, I'd certainly be in favor of it; if not, not so much. If there's been fraud in this race, it's far more likely to have been via fraudulent registrations (out-of-state voters, underage voters, &c.) than via forged ballots.

wv: tiPblyS 75. Honestly, these are getting weirder and weirder.

eteam said...

If the Racine state senate seat is not up for re-election this fall, then the discussion issue should be who represents Racine in the next legislative session.

This is at least as important (to Racine residents) as which party controls the state senate.

Orion said...

Absolutely there should be a recount - there are so many stories of Democrat voter fraud, it's very worth it to look into it.

For instance, if I recall, there were 2.1 million votes cast in the last election. In this one there were about 2.4 million (I think) - that's a pretty sizeable jump. Where did they all come from?

Let's finally start pursuing and NAILING the Democrats for all the voter fraud. THAT will put an end to their power faster than anything else. Starting out with a 10-30% advantage from made up votes is a bit of head start, no?

Orion

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with those suggesting a recount, given all the stories of voting irregularities. Need the recount, and maybe some prosecutions to make sure that the process is clean, and maybe to say to the Dems and unions involved that fraud doesn't pay.

Curious George said...

To answer the question by Luke Sneeringer, the loser Van Wanggard was elected in 10, so is not up for reelection this fall. I'll echo some others...canvas then recount. There is no downside, with that small of margin it is not unreasonable. Forget the percentage...it's the actual number...799. Second, it won't take very long and will cost the taxpayers nothing, because it's over the "free" threshold. The upside is there is likely fraud, even if not enough to change the result. So that's a win, and shuts up the left forever, especially when "Voter ID" was a big part of the left's issue against Walker and the GOP in thee recalls. Illegitimate recall election with illegitimate votes! Sweet Jesus! If there is enough to change the result...WOW!

geokstr said...

Nah. Forget the recount.

Start circulating the recall petitions against Lehman.

mpw said...

By all means don't copy the dems habits, but then don't bitch when they steal elections by rigging recounts like in Oregon, Minnesota, Florida (didn't work) and of course the home of all this bs Chicago where the margin grows for the picked winner in any recount. What foolishness, you all continue to want to tie one hand behind the Republicans backs so that Dems have a more than "fair" chance to steal elections with their bs. SHAME SHAME SHAME. 800 votes, Reps should go after every single one, and prosecute fraudulent voters, illegal same day registrations, cross state line voters and any other "irregularity" (ie normal dem voter day shenanigans). Bring the gun to the knife fight and teach the dems a lesson that voter fraud will not be tolerated. This goes for all elections not just Wi. mpw

Jamieson said...

"Wanggaard received 979 less votes than Walker in the 21st SD.;trails Lehman by 779 votes. Lehman got 657 more votes than Barrett"

RECOUNT!