14,000 'Unsaved' Votes Suddenly 'Found' In Wisconsin?

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Ah, it’s been a while since we’ve had e-voting controversies, but it looks like a big one may be coming out of Wisconsin. As you may have heard, there’s been a bit of a political dogfight going on in Wisconsin over the last few months, involving some questions about the power of the governor and the rights of government employees to collectively bargain. Given that I actually have a background in labor relations (what? yes, really), I’ve found the whole thing fascinating, but given my general distaste for politics that become purely partisan, I’ve generally found the whole thing and actions on all sides to be pretty ridiculous. Anyway, that fight brought extra attention on an election fight for a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice position between incumbent David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The original results showed a very slight victory for Kloppenburg. Now, I generally avoid mentioning political parties of politicians entirely, because I find that it leads to partisan debates, which are effectively religious debates, rather than debates on the actual issues. But, here, the parties become a bit more important. Because of the highly partisan battle in Wisconsin involving a Republican Governor and Democratic elected officials, many people viewed this election as something of a proxy, with Prosser representing the “Republican” viewpoint and Kloppenburg being the hope of the “Democrats.” That’s a bit of a simplification, but to get to the point we’re talking about here, it’s enough.

With the voting results being incredibly close — the original count had Kloppenburg with a 204 vote margin of victory, out of over 1.4 million votes cast — it’s no surprise that a “recount” has been underway, with small numbers of votes turning up here or there. However, what’s turning some heads is the fact that the County Clerk in Waukesha County, Kathy Nickolaus, suddenly found 14,315 votes, with the vast majority (by a margin of 7,582) that didn’t make the initial count. She claims that they weren’t counted because she “failed to save the results” in the computer system. She also said that this kind of “human error” is “common in this process.”

Assuming this is actually true, it seems like a pretty clear case that Nickolaus should not be in the job any more, as that’s a pretty clear case of incompetence in a rather important job. Assuming it’s not true… well… that’s a whole different story. Of course, complicating matters is the fact that Nickolaus is apparently an active Republican and was at the center of a few former controversies, including one about election data and how Nickolaus would collect election results — with people raising concerns months ago about “the integrity of the system.” It seems that she decided “to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network – and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office.” Now, her argument, which is not entirely unreasonable, is that it’s better to keep such data off the network, but given the specific concerns raised, the story is raising eyebrows.

Obviously, for folks who are die-hard supporters of either party, they can spin the story in either direction. But, if we just take a step back, and look at it from the standpoint of wanting to believe in the concepts of basic democracy, shouldn’t we all be pretty concerned that any voting system, no matter how it’s set up or maintained, could lead to this sort of situation where 14,000 potentially crucial votes could go completely missing without notice… and then magically turn up just as they’re needed?

Even if everything is legit, and there’s no compelling reason not to assume that’s the case at this point, it certainly hurts the basic integrity of the election system. And that’s pretty important if you want people to actually believe in the basic principles of democracy. And, honestly, why do we let any single person, especially one with a clear party affiliation, control such data? At the very least, it should be in the hands of either neutral parties, or multiple people who can see each other’s actions.

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Comments on “14,000 'Unsaved' Votes Suddenly 'Found' In Wisconsin?”

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alSeen (profile) says:

There is another good reason to stay away from political stories like this. A writer will always miss important information. Like this quote.

“But at the news conference with Nickolaus, Ramona Kitzinger, the Democrat on the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers, said: “We went over everything and made sure all the numbers jibed up and they did. Those numbers jibed up, and we’re satisfied they’re correct.””

Bernadette says:

Goverment's Use of Data

I read this blog post about city governments and data collection/use (http://www.resetsanfrancisco.org/news/mar-31-11/gov-20-beyond-data), so it’s interesting to read TechDirt’s post about an apparent MISuse of data, in this case VOTES. I can see how data of any kind (surveys, polls, quality of life data, etc and in this case VOTES) are important and useful, but it’s so sad to see how people take advantage of the digitization of such data to use toward unfair, illegitimate means.

Darrell K says:

Regarding "not saved" votes

There’s an interesting write-up regarding this here:


It details how if she was using Microsoft Access as she detailed then her claim that an update to the database wasn’t saved is impossible and plainly false.

Please consider to read objectively as DailyKos can be a rather partisan site, but facts are facts.

I’d say that this issue is far from settled at this point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Regarding "not saved" votes

If it’s like my county (where I’ve served as IT guy and voting official) the problem may have been that the county clerk didn’t put in the sub-counties disk during tabulation, than it’s not so much a case of “oops forgot to save” but flash drive was put in the wrong stack and was never inserted during tabulation so wasn’t counted.

This does happen, it’s not hard when you are putting 40-60 flash drives in that you skip over one, it’s usually caught really fast as the newspaper prints the results and an entire section of a city is missing but by then the vote is certified, if the number of votes separating the winner and loser is a determining factor than you go back and recount of course. It’s not something that is forgotten until a recount. Their county needs a better newspaper to keep the county “honest”.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Now, her argument, which is not entirely unreasonable, is that it’s better to keep such data off the network.

Yeah put it on a PC where anyone with a Winbuilder/PE disk can access it.

“She claims that they weren’t counted because she “failed to save the results” in the computer system. She also said that this kind of “human error” is “common in this process.””
I cant resist – You mean a republican was caught messing with votes. Nah never in history. LOL

and then magically turn up just as they’re needed? Yeah ok lady.

Dont know if this is still in use after all the exposure.

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

HEY! Lay off the Republicans. Just because they want to take away your rights, voice, votes, money — and, if it existed, your soul — doesn’t mean you get to criticize them. Either way, if you ask them, they’ll tell you the world is ending really soon, so it doesn’t really matter if they’re criminals at this point. [/sarcasm]

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hey Mr. Carmichael,
Let put that into perspective:
HEY! Lay off the DemocRATS. Just because they want to take away your rights, voice, votes, money — and, if it existed, your soul — doesn’t mean you get to criticize them. Either way, if you ask them, they’ll tell you the world is ending really soon, so it doesn’t really matter if they’re criminals at this point. [/sarcasm]

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Forget secret votes

Wouldn’t it make things much, much simpler if we gave up the silly idea that votes should be kept secret? If we had a public database that you could look up to make sure your vote was counted (and for the right person), wouldn’t it solve a LOT of problems with missing ballots, miscounted votes and fraud?

I honestly don’t see any GOOD reason why votes should be kept secret. If you have to hide who you vote for, ask yourself why it is that you don’t want others to know who you support. If you really don’t want to tell people who you vote for, don’t vote at all.

Having all the votes accounted for, with a name attached to it, does take away a bit of privacy, but it extremely transparent, fair, and you’re actually accountable for who you vote for and how the votes are counted. Having a bunch of ‘secret’ votes makes it that much easier to control elections.

Am I right or what?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Forget secret votes

“Am I right or what?”

No (my opinion).

There may be perfectly good reasons for not wanting to tell people who you voted for. Maybe you don’t want to deal with the ostracization from going against local community norms.

Even if it might be better to “say it loud” and just endure the condemnation, I don’t think that aspirational goal is a good basis for our election system.

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Forget secret votes

“Maybe you don’t want to deal with the ostracization from going against local community norms.”

If you’re too scared to vote for the person you believe in, you don’t deserve to vote. It’s not like voting is a revolution. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kazakhstan used ‘secret ballots’, and it doesn’t really help people at the voting boots.

I’m not saying there isn’t any trade-offs, but there could be a lot of positive aspects to such a decision, especially in a digital age.

The Libertarian says:

Re: Forget secret votes

Yea I am sure the Unions would love this….

“Hmmm Mr. Anderson, you did not vote the way the union told you to? Care to explain while we escort you off the site and out of the union?”

Or the other side

“Little Johnny voted the first time today, lets make sure he vote the right way, oh know a Democrat is in the bunch, I HAVE NO SON”

I say dump the parties, both sides get WAY TO married to their view point and venomous to the the other side, neither is as bad OR as good as they like to admit – Really just different flavors of the same horsesh*t power party…

Libertarian says:

Re: Re: Re: Forget secret votes

Only because the 2 party’s gamed the system early to keep themselves (one or the other) to cover the real spectrum of politics you need about 4 – 5 parts (Libertarian, Statist, Liberal, Right-wing, centerist). Everyone falls into one of these on every issue, it just changes with the issue. Then you can have someone watching to make sure everything stays smooth…

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Forget secret votes

“Then you can have someone watching to make sure everything stays smooth.”

Until that person takes over 😛

I do agree with you though, there ought to be a lot more parties representing the vast diversity of opinions out there.

Canadian elections are coming up (May 2nd), the Liberals knocked on my door telling me I should vote for one of the major parties otherwise my vote is wasted. I’m voting Green Party.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Forget secret votes

With all due respect, unless you vote for one of the major parties (unless there is second and third choice in your country)? You are wasting your vote.

If you vote for anyone other than who you personally think is the best person for the job, you’ve wasted your vote, and that person is almost never from one of the major parties.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Forget secret votes

they try the same stunt here (in New Zealand) on a surprisingly regular basis. actually, with our MMP system, the only wasted vote is when you vote for an elecotrate MP AND for their party when one or the other doesn’t actually best represent you. except for excluding the other candidates doing so is redundant due to the overlaping systems. which doesn’t stop the parties constantly pushing you to do so anyway and the majors trying to use media spin to convince you that voting for anyone who’s not them is wasted. (never mind that we’re not even supposed to HAVE a ‘government’ and ‘opposition’. it was, at least origionaly, set up that the people who Actually Got Elected were, in their entirity, the government, and the unelected govenor picked their cabinete from that pool. the ‘opposition’ was, depending on how you looked at it, either the people who failed to get elected or those individuals who disagreed with you on the issue at hand, nothing more. of course the moment you introduce party politics that all goes out the window.)

anymouse (profile) says:

Re: Forget secret votes

Stalin: Ok, generals see that list… those are the ones who didn’t vote for me…. Round them all up, and put them in concentration camps, or better yet just shoot them where they stand, if they don’t support me, I could care less about their lives…

Still see no reason for votes to be kept secret? It’s not about what we the people would do with information, it’s about what would be done to we the people if those in power had the information.

Obama: Due to budget cuts and sagging economy, we are going to have to band together and make some serious cuts to get through this thing together. Effective immediately, public schools will only be allowed to serve ‘selected’ portions of the public. To check if your children will be allowed to attend a public school near you, check the last public voting roster, if you voted “Obama” congratulations, your children are eligible for public school until the next election, all others parents are required to enroll your children in the online only “re-education” program for an annual cost of $100,000 per child per year (come on you’all can afford this, it’s less than the cost of ‘stealing’ one mp3 after all…) Once your children have completed the mandatory 5 year re-education campaign, and you as parents have signed the contractual agreement to vote ‘correctly’ in the next election, your children may be allowed to attend public school again (all rights reserved, not valid in all states of mind).

This message brought to you by the letters RIAA, MPAA, and the numbers 1337…. (sarcasm off)

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Forget secret votes

Dictators get their power through violence, but ultimately through fear. If you want to live in an open, transparent society, you can’t start making things a secret in the off chance that a dictator takes control of the country, or maybe the some country invades the US, in which case you won’t see it coming anyway.

Don’t fear the Stalins and the Hitlers, that’s how they get you. Open votes, honesty, transparency, it’s like fiber it’s great for you.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Forget secret votes

It’s fallacious to say that everything must be transparent. Government must be transparent to avoid tyranny, but my vote need not be. Nor my credit history, sexual preferences, and on and on. Private (citizens’) secrets are fine, it’s public (government) secrets that are a problem. The process of an election must be transparent, and the results must be transparent, but not who voted for whom.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Forget secret votes

I don’t find it that silly, I know of people in management positions that would not hire someone based on their political views if they didn’t align with his, yes those people do exist and will continue to exist as long as we form groups of people. Owners of business could use such databases to force their employees to vote for some candidate that favors him and not their own interests, would that be acceptable? it would be difficult to prove any wrong doing after that.

But you can get accountability with reasonable privacy, when you vote you could get a cryptographic key and you could check your vote status using that without having list of names and votes online.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Forget secret votes

The reason nobody tries to buy votes is that there is no way to prove you voted one way or another.

In other words, even if I break your fingers, pay you $1,000,000,000, or threaten to kill your family, all I can rely on is your word that you voted the way I wanted you to — there is no way for you to truly *PROVE* that it happened.

Add in that proof and you have made votes effectively worthless — by ensuring they can be bought, extorted, or blackmailed.

wallow-T says:

Why the ballot needs to be secret:

“Hi, I’m your employer. Your employer is endorsing Joe Smith in Tuesday’s election. You will, of course, all vote for Joe Smith, and after the election we will check to see how all of our employees voted. Now, I’m sure, nothing will happen to employees who vote against the interests of the Company, but layoffs are coming, and all sorts of little things will be taken into account… hint hint…”

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Again, if you can’t stand up for yourself, you don’t deserve to vote. If your employer fires you for not voting for the party it supports, sue them, and be glad you’re not working for rich idiots anymore.

“But I can’t afford to lose my job! I have kids to feed!”

Don’t be so selfish. You can’t afford to earn money for rich idiots either. Stand up for yourself, ffs.

torment says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So your ONE anecdotal datapoint (yourself) somehow covers the broad spectrum of possibilities of why we should move away from secret ballots?

What would you do if some rich billionaires started campaigns to get people fired for voting against a particular politician who advocated tax cuts for the wealthy, for example. With nice fat pockets, they could just keep absorbing the lawsuits, and/or keep them in the courts with appeal after appeal.

What do you tell the people who are blacklisted from a certain industry, let’s say, where there’s a general prevailing majority opinion of all the employers?

I’m sorry, but it’s hopelessly naive to believe that your ‘solution’ to this voting issue would work in the United States.

I respect your opinion, but even off the top of my head I can think of dozens of scenarios where people could come to harm for their voting record, with no recourse other than the legal system… which is, in itself, a problem here in the US.

AW says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not everyone is either smart enough, skilled enough or able enough to be self employed. There is also not enough work for everyone. You also live in Canada where losing employment doesn’t mean you have to keep your children from going to the hospital because you can’t afford it, nor do you ever have to feed your children dirt to keep them full because your minimum wage job is over the threshold of being able to get assistance. So please take your self righteous attitude and leave it at home. Living in your bubble you’ve obviously not grown up near violence, gangs or any organized group with a violent mode of enforcement.

James Carmichael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, lots of people have it rough, and I’m having it easy in comparison, sure. I was accused of blowing hot air by an anonymous coward, and I’m overly proud of my principles.

It’s entirely possible it’s terrible idea. I guess it only works in a society where most people trust most other people, though I’m not even sure Canada has that. Actually… maybe.

Anyways, I know there *could* be a lot of bad things that would happen to you if the votes weren’t secret, but if there’s such a tension in the political system that people are scared of telling others who they voted for, then the entire system is broken, and making votes secret or not won’t change the situation much.

To me, and this is just my view of it, but to me, a vote isn’t just a token you’re given to play the election lottery, it’s a pledge, a way to say you trust a candidate to lead you. If you don’t trust someone, then don’t vote for them. If you have a gun pointed at your head when you’re voting (and yes, I know it happens elsewhere), then fine, you can make the ballots secret, but then again, it wouldn’t really matter, would it, because you’re already screwed?

I’m just kind of a hippie, I have this idea that people could get along without killing each other if they tried really hard and trusted each other.

I’m totally guilty of heresy and blasphemy though, I’m the first one to admit it.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:


then fine, you can make the ballots secret, but then again, it wouldn’t really matter, would it, because you’re already screwed?

It matters because you can’t hit something you can’t see.

Besides if things ever turn south and you end up with something like Mao’s Death By A Thousand Cuts(Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – 1966~1971) type of thing, you will be glad those things were kept secret.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If you want to see some graphic depictions of what was done on those days in China go to Youtube and search for “thousand cuts” or use Google to search for the images is just appaling what people are capable of, also you would like to search for Idi Amin Dada, The Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Pakistan bloody separation from India, Indu Fanaticism, Right Wing Japanese factions(the ultra-nationalistic fanatics that assassinated a lot of people), not to mention Abu Ghraib, Project MKULTRA, Tuskegee syphilis experiment.


What if somebody decides your political views transform you into a good subject for experimentation?

As recent events proved already if given the chance some people would strip anybody they don’t like of their rights and abuse those people.

Manning being a good example of what can happen when your political views are noticed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Didn't Blackadder already do this one?

Episode was called “Dish and Dishonesty”.

I’m pretty sure the writers of this didn’t get permission from the BBC (BBC is pretty strict about this sort of thing) so it’s pretty obviously plagiarism.

You’d think they could come up with their own script, rather than steal from one of the best shows ever made!

Next you’re gonna tell me that Nickolaus is the only voter in the district.

“Ms. Nickolaus, you are the only voter in this rotten borough?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“And how long have you lived in this constituency?”

“Since Wednesday morning. I took over the previous electorate when he very sadly, accidentally brutally cut off his head while combing his hair.”

“I See. One voter, 14,315 votes. A slight anomaly?”

“Not really. You see, Prosser may look like a monkey who’s been put in a suit and then strategically shaved, but he is a brillant politician. The number of votes I cast is simply a reflection of how firmly I believe in his policies.”

chelsea schmit says:

agreeing with wallow-t

I agree while I know my employer would never do that, say a republican member feel that a democrat is better suited, or your employer is say a koch brother or even a major democratic supporter, while they may not intentionally single you out, they may know your stance and that in its self could cause a bias. I don’t care who knows my vote because I have made my vote more than clear elsewhere but my boss isn’t politically motivated to Wisconsin politics because he is from Nebraska. However we open ourselves to a lot of bias by allowing just anyone to see any given person’s vote.

imom6i (profile) says:

Re: agreeing with wallow-t

Worked for an employer who allowed Union reps and others to walk around and give employees a list of who we needed to vote for.
Needless to say, I told them in no uncertain terms not to do such a thing to me again, that I was a voter who knew the issues for myself and voted accordingly. I was literally and figuratively put upon by some in that very liberal leaning office.

Carol says:

Missing votes

I can find no earthly reason how such mistakes can be made in modern day voting. Frankly, any dummy can set up a data sheet that lists every country and all you have to do is enter in ?verified? data. If one county had no data, certainly you?d see that immediately.

Bad enough they even ran out of ballots in some places but this mistake is too large to be overlooked and someone should be losing their job since they apparently aren?t qualified. I don?t care what party you are a member of, these types of errors do not belong in our modern day voting system. And NEVER, EVER should elections be allowed to be run from your own home computer.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Missing votes

Why not? The fact is that voting from your home computer is just as safe or unsafe as using one of those voting machines.

Also, with Windows 7 adding in MULTIPLE protections like UAC? Viruses are pretty much a thing of the past unless people are stupid enough to allow them to install on their machines.

Another AC says:

Re: Re: Re: Missing votes

As an IT professional myself, I find this statement a little misleading. There are many, many exploits and backdoors that can be found on any personal computer. OS version does not matter. WHile I personally like Win7, it is far from being completely secure. Using proper protocols would be more consistent. Secure Socket Layer encryption, multi-factor authentication in order to login/register. These would lead to some level of confidence and can be adapted to multiple environments like Windows, Linux, Mac, etc…

alSeen (profile) says:

Re: Paper ballots

South Dakota has a great compromise when it comes to electronic voting.

The ballots are the standard fill-in-the-circle sheets that everyone used in school. You slide the ballot into the evoting station and it comes up with the ballot questions. You make your choices on the touch screen (it also has headphones you can use if you are blind). After all the questions are done, it shows you your choices and you can make changes. Then it marks your ballot for you and spits it back out so that you can review it for yourself. After that, you slide it into the lock box and it is tabulated using a scantron machine.

One big benefit to this is that if there are problems with the voting machines, you can still fill it out with a pen. You also have a physical ballot that can be recounted.

Anyone that has a miss-vote in South Dakota deserves to have their ballot thrown out. There are too many safeguards in place.

Pendrake says:

Same thing happened here in Minnesota… twice.

2008: Norm Coleman won the election, then a bunch of ballots were ‘found’ and *Poof* Welcome Senator Franken

2010: Emmer won, then more ballots were ‘found’ and welcome Governor Dayton.

I don’t recall seeing the media getting all hyped up when those candidates won due to ‘found’ ballots. Why now?

Bob Chapman (profile) says:

Vote Privacy

I understand how your vote was counted needs to be kept secret from everyone else: the police, your employer, political parties, your lover. Everyone.

How your vote is counted does not need to be kept secret from you, though.

A random voter number could be generated when you vote–and it is only given to you, if you want it. You could go online to check how that voter number was counted after the election. If your ballot was counted wrong, you would have the _option_ of reporting it. You can audit your ballot.

Separately, each ballot could be posted by some reasonable division (such as precinct). The HTML could be selected and entered into a spreadsheet (Excel does this well). Then other people could audit the reported results.

It isn’t that hard anymore.

Joseph K (profile) says:

Voting Reform

It’s almost annoying to hear such good suggestions on how to reform the voting system, like the system in South Dakota with the paper backup that the voter can review themselves and which is machine-counted, giving you two different machine-counted votes to compare; and same with the online audit with anonymized numbers. They’re good ideas. I could see some risk of abuse with the anonymized numbers, since people might be able to hack databases that store the info associate with the number and thus de-anonymize them, but that’s about it. It’s annoying because they’re not being used widely. Every election should be done in a way similar to South Dakota, with a machine-countable, elector-reviewed, paper backup. This isn’t rocket science here. They aren’t curing cancer. They just came up with a smart way to utilize available technology to come up with a system that’s more efficient and reduces the risk of fraud and mistakes. Why are so many places so inept at running elections?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Voting Reform

I could see some risk of abuse with the anonymized numbers, since people might be able to hack databases that store the info associate with the number and thus de-anonymize them, but that’s about it.

Actually if it’s done correctly, there would be no database with that association. There’s a database of registered voters, and another database of votes with meaningless numbers associated with them, and that’s it.

The problem with the anonymous code idea is your boss (or someone) saying “yeah, I’m going to need to see your voting receipt.” You could always say you didn’t get one, but what if he decides you’re lying? What if you don’t want to tell your spouse how you voted? So you don’t get the reciept, and when she asks for it and you don’t have it, she thinks you don’t trust her. And so on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Recounts are Bullsht. Polls are closed, votes are tallied. any recount is going to be more wrong than the original.

How to prevent such scandals?

What i think they should do is give them both the job, top 2 canidates get the postion, and that goes for any elected office. Make the elected officals compromise, not the populace. 50.0001 percent is a majority, but thats nearly half the population NOT represented.

ntroncos (profile) says:

I will be rather blunt on this issue.

1) It is not necessary to have e-voting. That is just walking down the wrong road to disaster (or 14000 votes missing).

2) The USA needs to pull their act together and have a reasonable IDing system. And before you jump on the 4th Amendment wagon. You CAN have good ID and 4th Amendment at the same time. (avoid people voting twice, or having some else voting for them).

The USA need a deep reform on their voting system, to straighten out stuff. And the first thing is to ditch e-vote.

as an example:
The voting system back home (Chile) is not perfect, but our counting system kicks ass to any, other electronic or not. Once the poll station closes, the votes are counted on the spot. Every interested party has observers. Once the results are obtain they are sent to the central polling station. Always under oversight of the interested parties. Votes are packed sealed, and sent as well, with a nice paper trail and custody handling just like evidence.

I don’t know the exact number, but each poll station will handle only between 100-150 votes. Blunders, mistakes, screw ups have very little impact in the overall.

Nicedoggy says:

I have been thinking about this democracy things and in the U.S. is not really a 100% democracy yet, we have some problems, but Koizumi gave me an idea some years back when he was facing opposition from political parties what he did was to get a bunch of nobodies that had no experience whatsoever to pass legislation he said was critical, and it worked beautifully for him independent of the merits of his position.

People want a democratic state?
Stop voting on people, those people create connections when they are there for too long and start selling out their services, we should have a entity outside the political parties where we go to vote on issues in parallel to the government and see what we can agree on and that entity would choose anybody and give them the script of what it is expected of them, where those people sign something saying they will honor what they agreed to pass and do, so every election you vote on the issues and not on people the people become irrelevant, they are there only to fallow a routine that was already planed and scripted, they are not there to decide anything.

Now that would be something different, I don’t know if it would work because I can’t imagine every contingency that could happen or how this could be gamed in every instance but it seems sensible to me that the laws will be disucssed public, with everyone voting on what they want before electing someone, that way we know exactly what to expect from the government, and those being elected don’t have deep connections and thus may not be corruptible that easily besides they need to fallow what they signed up or face consequences when they step down, so lobbying power could be reduced and would go back to the hands of the people instead of some small group of people.

Those elected would have support from the entity to see what they need to do and what people want them to do in realtime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

One crude example of this is the Tea Party, even though I disagree with them strongly, the mechanics of what they did is exactly what we need to change things.

They formed a group of people(crazy people by the way), and set directives to those who would get elected.

So it didn’t just happen in Japan, we have a example of it happening in the U.S., we just need to polish that scheme a bit more, so it doesn’t include only the crazy people from the Tea Party.

Nicedoggy says:

The problem?

We don’t have a trusty entity that can point to whom we should vote to get things done, we don’t have a board of issues that we want solved and could be used as a script for said elected individuals.

That is the infra-structure we need to start changing things around and hustle back the power from special interests.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

From a Wisconsinite

Before someone decides to accuse me of being overly partisan, I would like to state that I intentionally chose not to vote in this particular election. Here’s the factoids from a local (me):

1. We use paper ballot, at least in my county.
2. The Madison area is known for being heavily liberal progressive. That being said, I have been plesantly surprised that the local media (TV and Newspaper) has worked really hard to be neutral in the debate rather than contributing. So far, the aligations of intentional fraud are unsubstanciated at this time, but the matter is being investigated.
4. The process that Wisconsin was undergoing on Thursday is nothing new. It is not a recount. It is part of the vote validation process to make sure that every vote is counted properly and to correct stupid mistakes like someone forgetting to enter in an entire town. It just hasn’t mattered on a state-wide scale, before. This process is always open to the public, but it is a long and boring process, so nobody has ever shown up to it before.
5. A recount still may be undertaken because of the narrow margins.

imom6i (profile) says:

well well now it matters?

When Frankin suddenly was swooped into Congress on a very ridiculous voter count, not a word. When its a republican oh dear, we have potential fraud.
Think back to 2008. How many questionable votes did a Democrat get and how many did Obama get, and all was silent. No one even demanded an investigation in any of these clearly fraudulent elections and no ones integrity or loyalties were questioned.
Don’t you agree that this is all just so much nonsense.

the old rang (profile) says:

Biased reporting on your part...

This story is old enough, for more of the facts than you presented.

The one observing the Republican (a Democrat) checked and said, these were not ‘new found votes’ like all the ones Al Franken got, not wait until you know how many we need, and I will report the last precints in the south Daley for John Kennedy and quite a few other elections.

The Democrat deadstream media twisted the report, and that is reflected in your ‘unbiased’ relay of all the created facts the deadstream wallows in.

Please, If you are going to be a political commentator, get rid of the shiver up your pants, first.

Nothing is said, by you, on all the ‘out of state’ Union and DNC money that went to the outright losers campain…

Nothing is said about how there was NO HANKYPANKY like typically in DNC elections, never reported by the deadstream. or how Completely Biased Judges, who should have recused themselves (in Franken election, in Wisconsins law stupidity by the judge rendering a decision based in science fiction, but totally supported by the deadstream.

Love your unbiased…

I am biased. But, I know better than to read the news coverage of the media that Obama dumped billions to, so they could keep lying about what is going on (Yes, Big Newspapers awash in red ink and big CBS got TARP money, under the table, and they are not the only ones…)

Your taxes, My taxes, and all the money the Treasury can print to make our money worth less… went to pay off shoddy businesses that are losers.

TS.Atomic (profile) says:


Kloppenberg suffers from “premature electulation”. Even for a Democrat, claiming victory by that original Associated-Press reported razor-thin margin was nuts. The more rational among you, if intellectually honest, would agree.

Yes, the vote counts that Kloppenberg claimed victory on were unofficial counts reported by the A.P.

The A.P. was given the incorrect totals and sped full bore into “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” territory. Only in Dummy-crat land do you call an election based on a news agency’s reporting. Sort of like calling an election based on “exit-polling” in carefully selected districts (another Dem tactic). And let’s not forget the Franken debacle which required yet another Dem tactic: A magic car-trunk full of (ahem) uncounted votes! Or even just good old fashioned Chicago-Dummy-crat ballot-box stuffing.

Did no-one in her campaign think to counsel her to hold her flapping maw until the state gave her an “official” count? That is one stupid person, considering she was running for a JUDICIAL SEAT!

The only reason the fringe-left is pissed is because, if they don’t have a good idea of the vote tally, they don’t know how many “magic-car-trunk” votes they need to come up with after the polls close to steal the election. Yes, giving the A.P. just enough rope to hang Kloppenberg with was an unintentional stroke of brilliance!

The only thing that went wrong was that the A.P. ran with unofficial numbers *AND* dumb-ass, dummy-crat candidate Kloppenberg (in her questionable wisdom) decided to claim victory based on a journalists unverified reporting. With that questionable judgement, a reasonable and prudent person would have *SERIOUS* doubts as to Kloppenberg’s capacity for unbiased, reasoned judgement.

Oh, who am I kidding — Kloppenberg is an IDEAL dummy-crat justice!! So easily swayed and prone to knee-jerk decisions based more on ego & emotion than truth, logic and reason. She was the union’s DREAM candidate: Willing to prostitute her decisions FOR FREE!!

But if you STILL have a problem with the counts, the co-chair — a devout democrat, Ramona Kitzinger — has given the process the thumbs-up as legit and above-board valid count. Normally, Dems *EMBRACE* idiots who abuse their office and/or fall afoul of the law. In this case, Kitzinger is playing fair, so I suspect she will get tossed under the bus soon.

Anyway, the counts are solid and Kloppenberg looks to be the loser. I do hope the Dummy-crats demand a hand-recount though. Mainly because after sinking over $3 million into the race, they will have to pay for the recount which will just add more to their losses.

the old rang (profile) says:

Meaning of deadstream media

The internet is not killing the ‘news’ business…

They are in a blindly stupid act of suicide.

Had it not been for OUR money give to them by the democrats, many of the big time red inkers in the print and blab ‘news’ would have died last year…

(or, cut back even more staff)…

The democrats owned them 40 years ago. Journalist (not reporters) have only been putting Baron von M?nchhausen to shame with what they call ‘reliable news’…

You call it main stream news? You are a person that thinks there were no WMDs in Iraq, No Yellow Cake, and that Scooter Libby outed Ms Plame… (and that Obama is not lying… along with his deadstream media) (Pleas look them all up, I wont try to argue. 500 wmd iraq 2006, for one,)

The TARP money is going to unions, democrats, pockets of union leaders and dnc members of Congress and White House…

You may not know, but, you don’t know the ‘deadstream’ media, which would have been buried had the dnc not stolen our money to keep them in print.

The original judge for the sham decision recused herself (Wisconsin if you weren’t able to follow). Amazing, since she was a Democrat. She had far less reasons to do so than the Union Judge (huband, son, etc. deep union members or officials), and nothing of her decision is based on anything in law. (other than the law of union pay off)

Unless you know something besides what the deadstream tells you, you know nothing.

If All of what you know is wrong, you know nothing…

If half of what you know is wrong, you know even less…

If what you know is from the deadstream… Lord have mercy on your soul… We know who you voted for.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Meaning of deadstream media

You are a person that thinks there were no WMDs in Iraq, No Yellow Cake, and that Scooter Libby outed Ms Plame… (and that Obama is not lying.

I thought everyone knew Libby was just the fall guy, and that Obama, as any politician, lies.

You seem to really have it in for the Democrats. Don’t you think Republicans deserve any blame for what is going on in this country? Do you think they’re really that different?

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Meaning of deadstream media

So, in spite of the fact that Boehner wanted to avoid a shutdown, his party effectively ignored him, and a sizable number were quoted as saying that, “America should burn,” it’s all Obama’s fault.

I read widely, and that came from a number of conservative places, as well as HuffPo. I keep saying that the circumstances are suspicious, NOT that there is clearly something wrong.

the old rang (profile) says:

Do I have it in for Democrats?

I have it in for those that would destroy our country.

Well before the election, that is what the media hid about the DNC candidate.

He wants to tear up our Constitution so ‘he’ can re-write it (He said that).

He associated, deliberately, by finding them, with known terrorists, Marxist (look at his staff), and subversives (look at his staff and the majority last congress)…

Ronald Reagan was once an active Democrat, just like his father.

But, mostly I hate those that deal in spreading ignorance…

Abusing words, for expanding a lie.

Good example…

The DNC, KOS (a right hand or Sorros on the web), most college activists, professors etc…

They call Republicans “NAZIs’ (and I am so much a Republican… I am a conservative… too many rinos in that party (rino=confused democrat)

Stupidly taught by ignorant of history professors (Yes, I went there) that NAZIs were right winged fanatics…

They have no idea, what a NAZI is…

NAZIs were Labor Union Socialist and thugs (kind of an oxymoron… )

They believe in Government Control of the ‘major means’ of production, (Speaking only of the basic philosophy, not the actuality.

Conservatives believe in minimal government control, individual freedom (or, as the country was founded.)

I know there is a need for some government. I don’t believe all of what Ayn Rand did, little of what the Libertarians believe, and nothing put out by the deadstream media.

I am an American (have the birth certificate to prove it). I believe that Robin Hood was a thief.
I think John McCain was made the candidate by the deadstream. since they didn’t want anyone to capably run against their ‘candidate’… (almost used wrong word)

Now, if you like destroying our economy, country and beliefs… I am against you…

Seeing what the DNC has been doing of late…

I am definitely not in love with any of them…

But rinos are thought less of.

PS: This is a political discussion in a supposedly technology site…

Thank the liberal author for that.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Do I have it in for Democrats?

They call Republicans “NAZIs’

See, this makes it seem like you’re willfully ignorant or something. Conservatives have also called liberals Nazis so very many times, yet you ignore that? Just recently I heard about a conservative banker (which is redundant, they’re all conservative) comparing a proposed corporate tax hike to Hitler invading Poland. He apparently said this with a straight face.

Idiocy, incompetence, and corruption have no party. They cross all boundaries. You still seem to want to pretend that they are confined to one group.

the old rang (profile) says:

Do I have it in for Democrats?

You really are woefully ignorant of political names…

Here are the realities of NAZI…

(First, Liberals always accuse the right, of the liberals doings…keep that in mind)

Socialists, Marxist, Communists, Liberals, Fascists and Liberals all are part of same belief..

Quoting one of liberals patron saints…

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

– Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate 1940, 1944 and 1948

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Do I have it in for Democrats?

(First, Liberals always accuse the right, of the liberals doings…keep that in mind)

Again, liberals, conservatives, and any other stripe of politician accuses the “other side” of whatever they think will get them ahead. You continue to attack the liberal politicians, and I really have no interest in trying to defend any kind of politician, but you still seem to have no defense for the conservative ones. Why is that?

Do you really believe the conservatives are above all the corruption, name-calling, shallowness, etc. that the liberals indulge in?

the old rang (profile) says:

No, but, I don’t believe conservatives stole General Motors from the shareholders, without compensation, to give to their union buddies (Gee… Union, Socialst, Steal… Das ist sehr interessant)…

I don’t think the conservatives (not the rinos) took all that extra TARP money and stashed it to rig elections, pay off unions and stuff their pockets… after bailing out deadstream so called news groups.

You are a liberal and wont admit it…

You are ignorant of history, civics, language and current events…

and you come after me, a kind and simple old man, who loves his country, and is saddened seeing what your tribe is doing to it.

I have had my say.

NAZI and all the other names the liberals want to dodge… or change to, for their own benefit… Europe is FINALLY trying to break out of it…

Sad to see the lying liberal media and the puppets in government are trying to destroy us, now…

You have missed most of what I have said, because, I am poor at expressing myself, maybe…

You have avoided answering most of the dares and challenges, since you are losing on all the ones you pipe up for.

Are all ‘Republicans’ without sin?

No… Ask the deadstream media, if they can not find a story to blow out of context, they will make one up, as they have, time and again.

Are all Democrats without sin… According to the deadstream, yes, since they will sit on stories about wrongdoing, until they have no options, then playdown and mis-direct to cover it up.

I knew Obama was a socialist within weeks of his appearance on the national scene. I knew he fully supported letting fetuses lay in laundry bins until they died, with no comfort or help… days after he started avoiding his job in congress to run for election. I knew he was and is still good friends with Reverend Wright (and professor Wright) although he denies and the press covers it up.

I know most of his $650,000,000 came from donors with names like Mickey, Goofey, line ups of NFL teams, living overseas, and in stacks and bags from same villages often… deadstream knows nothing…

I know the Republicans spent too damned much money when they were in control under Bush…

I know all the laws Bush acted on, to invade Iraq were passed under Clinton (deadstream ignores that)…

I know the main reason for invading Iraq was NOT weapons of mass destruction (deadstream overblew that)

do you??

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…no, that’;s what I sugfgested he do with the current political ?lite – shoot them all, Dem, Repub and Independent. Excise the cancer at the heart of American politics. Then torch all ‘news’ outlets and rebuild them from scratch.

After all, BOOTSTRAPS!=Moral is the current Republican mantra. IT’s sad that dialogue gets lost in the hysteriae.

Howard the Duck (profile) says:

Votes did not suddenly "turn up"

The difference is that the AP was so eager to predict the winner that it splashed the unofficial tally up on the news before the official count. There is always a variance, and the stupid woman decided to claim victory on live TV even with reporters questioning her early win by such a narrow margin. Dewey comes to mind… Oh well, now it’s a conspiracy, finally the democrats have one of their own. Better even then finding votes in the trunk of a car?

Faceless Minion (profile) says:

The democrats have had plenty of voting “accidents” before. If you want to disagree, I’d kindly point you towards Kennedy.

The republicans have had plenty before.

Neither side is perfect, both sides are flawed.

The one unquestionable truth is that you people using phrases like “republicants” and “dummycrats” look like religiously frothing idiots.

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