Just a brief note on last night’s recall election in Wisconsin.
Why I don’t trust the results and you shouldn’t either:
I planned on staying up late last night watching the returns of the Wisconsin Recall Election of Gov. Scott Walker go on into the night. So you can imagine my shock when the first returns immediately showed… not just Gov. Walker, but ALL SIX recall races showing Republicans with HUGE leads over their Democratic challengers, with Walker enjoying a HUGE 20-point lead right away. Within the hour, with barely more than 20% of the votes in, Walker was already being declared “the Winner”. If you’re as distrusting of Republicans as I am in the age of Karl Rove and Florida-2000, “surprise” results of this magnitude should ALWAYS be looked at suspiciously.
For days before the election, all polling was predicting a “down-to-the-wire” close race, with many suspecting that we might not know the results “for days/weeks to come”. As soon as the polls closed, the New York Times released it’s “Exit Polls” showing the race split “50/50″ and with 8percent more of them preferring President Obama in November.
Then, as soon as the polls close at 7pm CST, the first results start coming in. “Brad Blog”… a blog devoted to election irregularities… noted that WI votes almost entirely using paper “scantron” ballots (pencil in the bubble), making a recount possible, but extremely unlikely because recounts ONLY take place in “close” races, and even then, only when “ordered by a judge”. Don’t expect that here.
The first results to come in the moment the polls closed were the electronic votes (electronic ballots and Early Voting Scantrons already counted), instantly showing Gov. Walker with a HUGE lead over Mayor Barrett. By the time the first 20% of votes were in less than an hour later, Walker already had an insurmountable 20% lead and declared the winner with Barrett finding himself in a deep hole early on that he’d have to spend the rest of the night digging out of.
As the night went on, Walker’s lead shrank as the PAPER ballots were counted. By the time the counting was “over”, Walker’s lead had shrunk to just 7percent as hand-counts showed Barrett gaining on Walker all night long.
The down-ballot races, though not as high profile, were just as important. The WI Senate is currently split 50/50 between 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats, with control going to the Party that holds the governorship. All Democrats had to do was win ONE of those races to regain control of the WI Senate, a hedge that even if Walker won, a Democratically controlled Senate could at least put the brakes on Walker’s partisan power-grab. While early poll results showed all four Republican Senators winning by significant margins, it wasn’t until all the counting was over did the closest race between Former Democratic state Sen. John Lehman and incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard show the Democrat winning with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard’s 35,476 votes, “according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting”. Once again, it took all night and checking ALL the ballots for the Democrat to overcome an early deep deficit.
So, to summarize: We are to believe that people in Wisconsin turned out en masse, standing in long lines, with many counties reportedly “running out of ballots”, all to vote for the Status Quo? The WI-GOP was so concerned they might lose that they themselves… not just some pranksters but THE OFFICIAL WISCONSIN GOP, was robocalling Democrats, telling them that if they signed a recall petition, they don’t have to bother coming in to vote because they’ve already been counted. It certainly “looks like” the electronic voting gave Walker a huge head start that Barrett and the others would spend the rest of the night attempting to overcome. A lead SO huge that even if Barrett did REALLY well, would be lucky to break even with Walker as the original exit polls predicted. And, as the night continues, that gap narrowed as Barrett out polled Walker again & again. And in the end, we are to believe that a state that leans Democratic (the same people that voted en masse for Walker also broke for Obama by 8percent) also came out big for the only Republican governor in the country with a criminal defense fund, that unwittingly admitted that he considered “sending troublemakers” into anti-Walker protest rallies, described his anti-union measures as “divide & conquer” in an attempt to “permanently turn the state red”, admitted that his union fight had NOTHING to do with balancing the states’ budget (ibid last Monday’s post for all links), and most recently the “John Doe investigation” that could lead to Federal criminal prosecution of Walker, received the enthusiastic support of the majority of WI voters?
Is it just me, or am I just so distrusting of Republicans that I’m seeing anomalies where there are none? Tell me in the comments that there’s NO reason to be suspicious.