I haven’t actually watched an entire debate. Just part’s of the previous one but most of last night’s version from Las Vegas. I missed the first ten minutes or so and the last 15 when my streaming went to hell and wanted to show me the president’s rally instead. shrug.

Michael Bloomberg was so ill prepared that I almost felt sorry for him…but that’s an almost. Pundits have been saying that the first one is always rocky and he didn’t really care anyway because he’s not in the Nevada race. But the guy is an experienced pol and successful businessman…in both cases prepared is standard operating procedure. I don’t know why he bothered if he wasn’t into it.

Joe Biden is back. Probably has a lot to do with Bloomberg being on stage since Bloomberg can cut into his constituency quite a bit. But he was into it, well prepared, and didn’t make any major Joeisms that I caught. Now the question is: can he maintain that concentration through the rest of the primaries.

Now Senator Elizabeth Warren hasn’t gone away…it’s just that the media has lost their affection for her…and she showed it last night. She nailed Bloomberg, clarified her positions, gave credit where she felt it due, and just got after things. I know it’s sort of a motto now, but instead of saying I have a plan for that, a synopsis of the plan would serve her better now that the field has been pared down.

I like both Senator Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg but last night might indicate that they aren’t quite ready for prime time…and maybe there was some luck involved in the New Hampshire and Iowa results. But we’ll see…it isn’t too late to get back on track.

Senator Bernie Sanders was the perfect imitation of Senator Bernie Sanders. I think he got lost in the fray a couple of times but he got his points in and increased my tinnitus for the evening. I know it’s his personal communication style, but I could do with less yelling and more conversational tones…like he’s trying to tell me something.

Winner: Senator Elizabeth Warren

My favorite quote from Pete Buttigieg: “Let’s put forward somebody who’s actually a Democrat.”

If you missed the debate and don’t want to watch the entire thing...here’s the transcript courtesy of NBC.

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About a month ago I wondered out loud when we would be able stop saying the first (*) to get elected (*) or the first (*) be become (*)…but I knew at the time that we were a long way from there.

So today’s article by Bruce Murphy at Urban Milwaukee wasn’t too much of a surprise…and I am talking about the Milwaukee Circuit Court campaign of Brett Blomme.

Mr. Murphy is just clearly delineating the differences between the candidates (and my point is eventually we shouldn’t have to) but I think he goes into overtime. Yes, this is probably a quibble but it irks me.

Meanwhile, challenger Brett Blomme‘s husband and two children live in Dane County, but Blomme claimed as his residence a home the gay couple owns near 68th and Burleigh streets.

emphasis mine

Now I am pretty confident that most all readers will understand that Mr. Blomme is gay from the fact that he has a husband. I don’t think the ‘gay’ qualifier was necessary in the sentence. Yes…it’s a quibble…but we don’t move forward if we don’t stop saying the obvious when it’s not necessary.

How do we get to a point when this stops being important?

BTW: I have met Mr. Blomme. He is very personable and from his campaign lit and his discussions, I am sure he will be a capable judge. But I do have an issue with the fact that he has taken up residence locally simply to run in Milwaukee County.

Polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM. And don’t forget your photo ID. You can register at the polls if necessary, but have proof of residence then as well!

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Over the past month or so we have seen the laws about sharing signature solicitors and nomination papers enforced completely and thoroughly by the Wisconsin Election Commission and two courts of law. The result being tomorrow’s primary ballot will be short two candidates for Milwaukee County Executive. See previous posts: Here and Here and Here and Here.

Well, there is a more common sense law on the books that stipulates that absentee ballots for national offices be mailed out 47 days before the official election date. This is to insure Wisconsin ex-pats living overseas and more particularly Wisconsin residents who are serving overseas in the military receive their ballots in sufficient time to vote and then return them by election day.

This year the Wisconsin general election for state and local offices occurs on April 7, 2020 and that ballot also includes the presidential primary. So mailing day for absentee ballots is February 20th. Only one ittle bitty little problem. The Wisconsin primary is February 18th. It would require superhuman effort to complete all primary election functions and get accurate general election ballots printed and mailed by February 20th. So what is a mother (or in this case, the Wisconsin Election Commission) to do?

The original plan…and this was headed for disaster the minute it was mentioned…was to send out two separate absentee ballots. Ballot A with the presidential primary choices and later, Ballot B that would also include the presidential primary data plus the general election state and local choices. You can already smell the burning leaves. But it gets better!

Then if the voter only returned Ballot A, their presidential choice would be recorded. If they only returned Ballot B, any choices selected there would be recorded. But if they returned both, only Ballot B would be tabulated. But what if they voted for president on Ballot A and not on Ballot B? Well then their vote for president would be known only to the voter and the gods. Who even thought this up? A mildly better scenario would be two ballots…one presidential only and one state/local only…requiring both to be returned in order for all votes to be recorded.

Well, everyone but everyone could see the dangers and insanity inherent in this plan…so plan B. And this is where the state law moves from a legal imperative to a discretionary activity.

Wisconsin election officials abruptly canceled plans Wednesday to send tens of thousands of voters two absentee ballots for the presidential primary, saying their new approach may violate state law but will avoid mass confusion.   

The Wisconsin Elections Commission this month caused panic among clerks across the state when it told them a quirk in the law would require them to send two absentee ballots to 81,000 voters — but count only one of them.  

The commissioners unanimously determined Wednesday they should send two ballots to only a small subset of absentee voters — the several thousand who are overseas or in the military. Other absentee voters will get just one ballot under the new plan.

But as is often the case with Wisconsin state laws, it can get more interesting the deeper you dig.

State lawmakers set rules for when to send absentee ballots in 2011 in response to the federal law for military and overseas voters. The Wisconsin Legislature wrote the law more broadly than the federal law so that it applies to all absentee voters, not just military and overseas voters. 

The requirement to send ballots early to all absentee voters was in place for the 2012 and 2016 presidential primaries, but election officials did not comply with it.

emphasis mine

And why didn’t the comply with it?

Election officials discovered the issue recently as they reviewed voting laws when a special election was called to replace U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who stepped down in September.

So the Wisconsin Election Commission…that stickler for an arcane nomination paper laws…didn’t even know their own responsibilities under the law and haven’t been compliant? Of course they are blatantly disregarding it this time…but they have precedence on their side. Right?

So now that they/we know the law…and since they set the dates for elections in Wisconsin, what do you think will happen next? Move the February date earlier in the month? Move the April date later (Wisconsin is already so late they have little say in presidential primaries anyway)? Or change the law?

Given all of the confusion, uncertainly, carelessness, blunders, and flat out ignorance of the law…it would be of great benefit if Wisconsin sat down and reviewed and reworked their election laws and election oversight commissions after the completion of this election cycle. jeez louize.

This one is just incredible. There is only one thing that the City of Milwaukee’s Election Commission is tasked with doing…not running the street car, not filling pot holes, not plowing snow…getting the elections right.

And it’s not like they haven’t been doing it for years…because they have. But they screwed it up this time…and for an admittedly small segment of the city’s population…but it’s for people of color. They screwed up the date on Spanish language absentee ballots:

The Milwaukee Election Commission sent Spanish-language absentee ballot instructions to 2,038 voters incorrectly listing the date of the spring primary as Feb. 20.

The primary takes place Feb. 18.

The 2,038 voters who received the Spanish-language instructions with the incorrect date also received English-language instructions and a ballot, both with the correct date, he said.

If this wasn’t so sad and potentially restricting voting rights…it sounds just like the jokes from the past…where one party says they vote on election day and the opposing party votes two days later.

But the Election Commission has just one function. And we have all been talking about the primaries for literally months and every candidate and media outlet has been saying February 18th! It is every where and printed on everything.

Well, how are they going to fix it?

A letter in Spanish and English correcting the error was sent to the original 2,038 recipients at the beginning of last week. A notice of election is to be published Monday in the Spanish Journal.

Well I hope that they all received them on time…I hope they all understood them…and that they weren’t confused. But really, what a mess!

(Election Commission Executive Director Neil) Albrecht said he wouldn’t anticipate any impact from having the wrong date on the initial letters. 

“The same people who received the letter received a letter correcting the date within days,” he said. “They probably would have paid more attention to the corrective letter than to the instruction letter that was sent with their absentee ballots.”

Well I hope he’s right. But this is ugly and unwarranted. And why is this important?

The letters ask voters to allow four to five days for delivery of the ballots to ensure they arrive by Election Day. The instructions state that ballots received after Election Day will not be counted.

emphasis mine

So tomorrow is the Wisconsin primary election for state and local offices. Polls open at 7 AM…so get out there and vote!

^^just in indication of the popularity of this topic.
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This week, as President Trump continues his war on sanctuary cities in the United States, it was announced that border swat teams were being pulled from the border. Their new assignments were to support ICE agents in sanctuary cities…although they wouldn’t be able to use their normal training and resources in these areas away from the border.

Members of the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit, a rapid-response security force, are deploying to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Chicago and New York. Other agents from several ports of entry and field stations along the border are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey, a senior Customs and Border Protection official confirmed.

Some 100 agents will be sent to assist the ICE deportation force, the official said.

“This administration seems to think they can intimidate local law enforcement officials or act independently when operating in their jurisdictions,” said John Cohen, a former senior DHS official and ABC News contributor. “That is a dangerous strategy that will fail.”

The move comes as federal law enforcement officials also report significant increases in cross-border drug trafficking, raising concerns about moving agents away from international check points.

emphasis mine

So is the spiteful egotistical president actually endangering the United States just to make a point against his political opponents? It certainly seems so.

Or being more cynical…the president is just playing another note to his base during the 2020 election cycle.

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