Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Appalling: Joanne Kloppenburg throws out ballots of cloistered nuns in recount effort

An email to Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes:
In Sauk County, there’s a convent, Valley of our Lady Monastery that is inhabited by 18 Cistercian nuns.[They are good nuns btw] These nuns take a vow of silence, with their main occupation being the making the communion wafers. I am not making this up, the website couldn’t be better: http://www.nunocist.org/page2.html. The majority of these nuns stay at the Monastery their entire life…living the simplest of simple lives.

Every election the Town of Sumpter Clerk, Donna Ziegler, drops off 18 ballots so the nuns can vote. She later picks them up, prior to the election in a single, large, sealed envelope—not opening the large envelope prior to the election.

This year, she opened the large enveloped and removed the ballots…counted them, and included them as part of the total 24 absentee ballots for the town.

Fast forward to the recount….last Friday it was discovered that the absentee ballots cast by the nuns didn’t include witness signatures…and no one noticed prior to the election. The Kloppenburg team argued that the ballots should be thrown out—never mind that the GAB has never enforced lack of witness signature as grounds for throwing out a ballot with any regularity—and was successful.

Yesterday, the canvas board reconsidered—bringing in the Town Clerk (Ziegler) to discuss the situation, and she very passionately objected to the dismissal—stating she knows these women, trusts them and has always handled the nun’s absentee ballots the same way. Again, the canvas board after a long and somewhat contentious conversation voted to reject the ballots—at the insistence of the Kloppenburg attorney.

They were forced to “draw down” among the 24 absentee ballots, and Prosser lost 14 while Klopp lost 4.

It is my understanding that the canvasing board may have “seen the light” and was going to possibly review the decision once again this morning. I have not heard if they’ve reversed the decision.

This is why Kloppenburg’s goons justify a million dollar (plus) recount…to make sure the votes of nuns are counted.
 HT V

In other words, she had them thrown out because of the fact they are cloistered nuns.

Update:  Some background on the Cistercian nuns from an old post

Update2: Kloppenburg campaign manager email

28 comments:

  1. Voting rules apply to nuns, too. Sorry.

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  2. Apparently not to these nuns.

    "the GAB has never enforced lack of witness signature as grounds for throwing out a ballot"

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  3. Funny, their votes counted before without this signature. How many years has this clerk dropped off the ballots and picked them up without question? Only when these votes may be against Kloppenberg do they REALLY start working those nuns over!

    Reprehensible. Only when it is convenient do the rules necessarily apply, and only when Kloppenberg will come out the winner. And I'm supposed to trust that any judgement from HER bench will be impartial? HAH!

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  4. Past mistakes are no excuse for the present situation. The GAB rules for absentee ballots are quite clear:

    "Complete the elector information section on the certificate envelope, and sign the certificate. One witness must sign the certificate and provide his/her address."
    http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/absentee-uniform

    This is a non-disputable issue.

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  5. Yeah, it makes it indisputable by posting link to a website. Do you have any idea what the law says?

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  6. As someone who is helping with the recount in Madison, I can say that they are letting EVERYTHING go through...with or without signatures, initials, etc. While they are applying this standard to both sides, Kloppenburg far outnumbered Prosser in total vots, so who's it really benefitting?

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  7. Following this from Minnesota I would never side with Kloppenberg. Her whole election process sounds tainted. Your state need to recall Walker at the earliest possible time and vote out his followers in the recalll efforts. It would be for the betterment of Wisconsin.

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  8. The only "goon" here is Charlie Sykes.

    Nobody had any votes thrown out "because of the fact they are cloistered nuns." The votes were argued against because there were no witness signatures. This is clearly stated. Their nun-ness had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    There are plenty of things to be upset at in the political world, you don't need to panic about nonsense.

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  9. Are you actually trying to make a case that Joanne Kloppenburg is anti-nun? Do you have any idea how insane you sound? What would be the motivation? What would she have to gain? You are simply promoting fear-mongering and asshole'ness. Come on now.

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  10. As someone who is helping with the recount in Madison and in Rock County, I can say that they are NOT letting absentee ballots through if they lack the mandatory signatures on the envelope. (Don't confuse this with missing initials on the ballot itself.) Ballots arriving in envelopes without the proper signatures are required to be rejected without even being opened. Call the GAB if you don't believe it. (The assertion that "the GAB has never enforced lack of witness signature as grounds for throwing out a ballot with any regularity" is false.) The correct title of this story is "Appalling: Town of Sumpter Clerk has been breaking election law for years."

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  11. It wasn't Kloppenburg's decision to throw them out, it was the GAB's. So why are they blaming Kloppenburg? Because she wants an election that follows rules?

    So stop whining, if there were more votes for Kloppenburg by the nuns, you wouldn't have even posted this.

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  12. As a former cloistered, silent nun, I don't see the problem. If the nuns did not follow electoral procedures, then no, their votes should not count. There was a time when cloistered nuns were not allowed to vote, the belief being that politics and partisan voting was a violation of the vows of silence and humility. My order went to the polls in person as a group and voted just like any other group would. But in general, cloistered religious are traditionally discouraged from forming political biases, instead praying for all people equally.

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  13. Thank you to the "As someone who is helping with the recount in Madison and in Rock County" commenter for actually commenting.

    Ahem, "Kloppenburg team argued that the ballots should be thrown out" Is this point disputed by 3:39?

    Look, her team did see to it that the votes were thrown out. The nuns must fill out absentee ballots because of their religious vows. They do not go out in public and should not need to to cast a ballot. If these were Native Americans, Buddhist or some other religious with the same vows I suspect many of you would change your tunes. Fault does lie with election officials but they are not the ones throwing the ballots out right now. Kloppenburg could have seen the social injustice here and chose to allow these women's votes to be counted as a special case. The could have taken corrective action locally so it didn't happen again. She chose to have the ballots removed. I think that's injustice regardless of who they voted for.

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  14. You guys. I swear. We have judges whose jobs are to interpret the laws, not decide based on "what sounds fair" when special exceptions are to be made. Just because the clerk didn't follow the law in the past is no reason to "grand-nun" these votes in now.

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  15. Sydney, cloistered nuns should be able to vote. You are saying that these women shouldn't be able to vote because someone wrongly said religious shouldn't vote? Last time I checked it was a freedom that all Americans should enjoy. Are you against women's suffrage or are you a member of the Know Nothings? Maybe they are hatching Papist plots to blow up parliament. Maybe you left to become a Tricoteuse?

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  16. 4:04 would not say that if they were Buddhist.

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  17. this story could read: "only when the votes were in question did someone notice that the voting rules have not been followed for years."

    and the assertion that the votes were thrown out because they ore those of "cloistered nuns" is ridiculous. their vows of silence do not prohibit them from observation, or adhering to established voting law.

    the town clerk does not get to "vouch" for the nuns...any more than somebody was allowed to vouch for obama's birth.

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  18. this is a no-brainer. there was a legal standard. doesn't matter if some town clerk got to vouch for the nuns previously. she doesn't anymore. let it go man.

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  19. Fair is fair, and the rules apply to even the holiest of religious people! The fact that the Clerk failed to follow the law (the LAW) doesn't mean that she gets to break the law forever and ever.
    Someone needs to vote out Town Clerk!

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  20. Sooooooooooooooooo - let me get this straight - you're blaming Joanne Klopenberg because she wants to follow the law in a legal process? Hmmmmmmmmmmm. And now you're twisting it and saying that nuns were not allowed to vote? And that the law doesn't apply to nuns? If they had mailed in their ballots, the whole problem coud have been avoided. Federal law makes it illegal to tamper with the mail. Sending absentee ballots with a friend is nice, but not legal. Give me a BREAK!

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  21. By the way: Under the voter ID laws that the GOP is now pushing in Madison, none of the nuns can vote unless they have photo ID.

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  22. The law is mandatory: absentee ballots are required to be rejected if the envelope lacks the mandatory signatures (the votes are not "thrown out" - they are rejected because, under the law, they are not valid ballots and aren't even included in the number of absentee ballots received). Election officials don't have the discretion to exempt anyone from this requirement; the excess ballots had to be removed. The only person to be faulted here is the Sumpter Clerk.

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  23. Your comment and your opinion about the cost of the recount holds no water. Prosser would have done the same as all politicians no matter what their flavor would have done the same. You should take a vow of silence... and no typing.

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  24. I agree with the fact that ballots cast outside of proper procedure should not count. Not done properly...Should not count. It's that simple. If we were to allow ANY improperly cast ballots to count, then we should allow ALL improperly cast votes to count. Does that sound like a good idea to anyone!? I find it absolutely ridiculous that anyone would even make an argument FOR counting those ballots. Come on people, where's your common sense????

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  25. @3:57, are you for real? Judges are supposed to enforce the laws as they are written. It is not up to ANYONE to interpret the law. When you interpret you may decide it is ok to overlook something this time and not the next. When you enforce, the law is "BLIND" (as its supposed to be) to external circumstances and influence. I suppose you would disagree with Justice Sotomayor, when she says she is suited for the job based on her "life experiences", last time I checked, enforcement of the law was based on the law as it is written and not based on how someone interprets it based on how he/she "feels" based on his/her "life experiences".

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  26. Holy cow did the haters come out of the woodwork.

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  27. Let me clarify my position, the law is followed here which results in an injustice that these nuns votes are not counted. Kloppenburg does nothing illegal here but it is an injustice that these sisters votes cannot count. The Sumpter Clerk is at fault for the irregularity. Women embracing poverty and silence can't be expected to be legal experts in election protocol to make sure their voice is heard.

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  28. Comment posted @3:57 was supposed to be for 4:04.. I misread the tags, my apologies.

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