Wait…Ron Johnson first registered to vote when?!?

As pointed out by the blog X Beyond X, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson hasn’t really taken much of an interest in exercising his right to vote during his adult life.

Over the past 10 years, there have been 16 general (Spring and Fall) elections in Wisconsin. According to online voting records available through the Government Accountability Board, Johnson has bothered to vote in only half of these elections (if you would like to look up the records yourself, Johnson’s date of birth is April 8, 1955 and the records use his full first name of Ronald).

Even in high profile and contentious races Johnson wasted a right that countless American soldiers have died for. Records indicate that in 2002, Johnson skipped the heated governor’s race where Governor Jim Doyle unseated incumbent Scott McCallum.

According to the Voter Public Access website, voting data prior to 2006 may be incomplete, but even if we put aside Ron Johnson’s voting record, there’s one irrefutable fact that can’t be overlooked:

Ron Johnson didn’t register to vote until 1994, when he was 39 years old.

I get that Ron Johnson’s supposed to be a political neophyte, but it’s more than a little bothersome that Ron Johnson was so politically disinterested and apathetic that he couldn’t be bothered to register to vote until he was 39 years old, yet just 16 years later (and with only a handful of instances of Johnson actually exercising his right to vote) Johnson feels he’s ready to jump into the fray as Wisconsin’s next United States Senator.

If you’re curious, you can go check out Ron Johnson’s voting history for yourself.

Ed. Note: For what it’s worth, it’s been pointed out by a number of commenters that in addition to their voting records being wrong (I noted in the original text of this post that the voter information website may have inaccuracies in that respect), the date listed as their date of registration to vote was also wrong. This entry was written based on my own experience that my voter registration dates were correct, so I wrongly assumed the voter registration information would be accurate, even if the voting dates were not.


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35 thoughts on “Wait…Ron Johnson first registered to vote when?!?

  1. The not voting seems to be a new pre-requisite for the tea-party addled GOP kids seeking higher office – just look at CA GOP candidates Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman for examples of two other party “leaders” who were just too busy to vote. http://www.progressiveelectorate.com/diary/2554/what-do-carly-fiorina-meg-whitman-and-terri-sewell-have-in-common

    They aren’t too busy to insist on imposing their morality on the public, but they are waaaay to busy and important to wait in line or to fill out a mail in ballot and vote.

  2. Just looked up my own record because I was curios. It’s certainly missing some elections I voted in (exp. as their disclaimer says, prior to 2006). Of course the other issue is that I no longer vote in partisan primaries since I’m not a member of either party & as such, have no business selecting their candidates. If there are referenda or non-partisan offices on the ballot, I will vote in those & leave the partisan ones blank, but in terms of voting in X of Y elections, I don’t believe partisan primaries really count. Personally, I don’t believe our government should have anything to do with them – the machines, workers and locations should not be used to aid the parties. Or if they are the parties should be force to pay for use.

    I’m not sure how you’re drawing the conclusion that he first registered to vote in 1994. My first election listed is also 1994 – which I know is incorrect. I know for a fact, I registered & voted before that. Wondering if anyone else has the same experience – does your own information in the system match what actually happened or is it missing quite a bit as mine is?

    1. Mine’s wrong as well. It has my first vote as 2004. It has my address wrong and fails to list my voting for the last 6 years. The old adage is true: Garbage in = garbage out.

  3. You are correct I first voted in the 1974 presidential election and my records only go back to 1982 on that site. There is also this disclaimer on the site.

    Voter Public Access has complete data starting in 2006. Prior to 2006, data may be incomplete.

    But somehow the blogger here thinks because his records start in 1994 that that is the first year Johnson voted.

    I have a feeling this blog like many leftwing blogs is providing incorrect data and passing it off as facts. You just learn on liberal websites/blogs you can take whatever they post with a grain of salt, you never know when they are telling the truth,.

    1. You just learn on liberal websites/blogs you can take whatever they post with a grain of salt, you never know when they are telling the truth,.

      I do that on ANY website and you should too. Both sides use the truth, blatant lies and everything in between. The political sites and blogs are obvious – but I don’t know that there are any sites I trust explicitly anymore.

      I wasn’t about to call outright BS on this one – maybe Johnson’s records are accurate. I know mine aren’t which was why I put it out there for others to check their own as well. But at the very least, it certainly seems like both Zach and the blog he linked to are jumping to conclusions that aren’t substantiated. Then again, maybe it’s just that they believe government can do no wrong, so the results of their database check should just be trusted without a second thought.

      On a separate issue, I do find this position interesting. On one hand, I can see something to looking at a candidate’s voting history & taking issue with someone running for office who hasn’t been an active voter. To some degree, I think it’s a valid critique. But by the same means, some context should be considered. First & foremost, as sad as it is, most people don’t vote all that regularly. On the other hand, politicians almost always do – if nothing else, for the photo-op. As such, voting history will skew heavily towards career politicians. If there’s one thing I’d like to see, it’s the end of career politicians at all levels. I see only good coming from term-limits and more individuals getting involved in governing. As is, guys get into it, and between money, name recognition, etc the become entrenched. The longer they serve, the more likely they become corrupted.

      The other issue – which I find a bit amusing – is the idea that some can’t become motivated to get involved later on in life. I’m tempted to look up other candidates, and find ones supported here who have a voting history similar to Johnsons. Because I’m sure there are. And then point out that I don’t see anyone complaining about them around here. The fact is, as much as this has a valid component to it, I don’t doubt the motivation. It’s like 90% of the stuff posted here and elsewhere: I don’t like this guy, I don’t like his party, so what can I dig up on him to justify my opinion. Also interesting – I’ve read people defend Chris Larson’s few minor legal issues (shop lifting & disorderly conduct) as things that happened in the past when he was younger & not relevant. Which is a fine position to take – people can change and become better, more decent human beings. But if you’re going to use that rationale, on those things, but turn around and criticize some one who simply didn’t vote regularly until late in life…well seems a bit mixed up to me.

  4. okay

    as a source of accurate info and even as inspiration for bloggers absolutely DESPERATE to make a new post –
    we can completely forget this online Voter History thing.
    it’s crap crap crap.

    It lists me voting FOUR times in my entire life which trust me is way wrong. But best of all…

    wait for it

    it says I registered to vote in


    I am not making that up.

    this website information on Johnson is not fair game to base conclusions on.

    1. As I mentioned in my rather long-winded post, it is an interesting topic – and worth discussing. Just should be done some caveats to note the uncertainty. Ultimately, if it motivates the media to actually do their job and ask the candidates about it, then that can be a good thing too.

      One last note – I’m certainly a proponent of transparency. I’ll wager I’ve read and given more thought about where the lines between transparency & openness and privacy than probably 99% of the population. That said, I have to admit, I found it a little creepy seeing my own info in this system (inaccurate/incomplete as it was).

      The other thing of course – as a proponent of better voter registration/identification requirements, I find it very interesting that we can look up individuals voting participation, but still do almost no verification at the polls & have systems set up to be easily manipulated.

      1. I am also disturbed to see my info like that – very disturbed. I tell myself that people will have to know not only my real name but also my birthdate. There is a lot to be said for lying on ALL internet subscription and membership forms that ask for your birthdate. I never tell the truth. Birthdays are too tied to I.D. type info. But yes, I think there is no reason for info on private citizens to be this available AT ALL. Criminal records are one thing. I know there is a lot of angst over CCAP. But then once the long arm of the law touches you, I guess the Public has some right to know.
        But what ever happened to Secret Ballots etc? I don’t en like to tell people who I vote for in a casual manner. Secret means secret. That website is creepy, and I don’t like it.

    2. For S’s and G’s I checked Sen. Feingold’s records.–they only go back to 1995.

      I have to admit that i am also troubled that voting records are public, especially since they are not accurate.

      1. Well by the same means, it says nothing of who you voted for, only that you voted. As unsettling as it might be to see, is it really a problem? I mean, as I step back & try to be objective about it, a record showing you’ve participated in elections & which ones shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of (assuming they were actually accurate).

        I’m not sure that full address information needs to be disclosed – though I guess it’s obviously tied to your district…Maybe if they listed your municipality & district (even down to the ward level) it would feel less invasive. Then again, our state has a really poor track record of managing IT projects so maybe that’s asking for a miracle.

  5. Whut? O_o
    How did you screw the pooch? (well yeah of course- doggy style but…)

    No need for that much angst m’dear.
    This is the oldest “problem” with blogging, the dark side of people wanting/needing things to go viral. It’s part of the un-written rules that everyone picks up whatever fresh meat they find and runs with it.
    Higher status bloggers will be among the first. It’s not cool to be towards the end of the line.
    If you DON’T do this you will have a backwater go-nowhere blog like mine. 🙂 But seriously, blogging is often a lot like a relay race. You even really need a “team” of some type

    How many links, how many re-tweets do you have, what’s your blog-rating. etc
    I’d say there’s some kind of responsibility on the original blogger to make SOME kind of effort to not just go bat-shit crazy with posts, but speed and novelty are the names of the game.

    Commenters always tragically under estimate how hard maintaining a blog is. You have to live it (btw this is not exactly my first).
    A decent ethical blogger who is trying to be fair while also fighting a good fight, but who “catches a virus” well, that’s not like a person who lies and loves it.

    Which reminds me- have we discussed Ron Johnson’s ad that LIES about Russ not ever having had a job?
    This is just a sickening lie. To take a person who has had great success at the University and then at both Oxford and Harvard, who has worked for prestigious law firms and then say the guy “never worked” and “lived off the public all his life”
    Now that’s not a mistake made in haste, that’s a bold-faced intentional lie. And one they will repeat again and again until this fiasco is over with.

      1. hmmm.
        well pretend you have angst. I’d hate to think I wrote a long comment to console a perfectly carefree individual. for 2 and a half seconds there I actually thought about being NICE. and it hurt.

  6. Oh also –

    this post got me to start reminiscing about My First Time (voting you bastards!) and omg! the lulz!

    Maybe you could do a post asking your people if they remember who they first voted for and if it was memorable for them or more mundane. the first bunch of names I voted for – what a crew! but I’m kinda afraid to list them for a few reasons. One of which is that those names would have people saying “Hey! You really DID vote in 1918”
    Anyways, do you remember your first election better than your first love? I do.


    1. To be honest, I think my first time voting was 1994 (I was 19 at the time) and I voted for…….Tommy Thompson for governor.

      1. oh good gawd.

        I voted for

        !!!!!!Jimmy Carter!!!!!!
        and other old folks like Fred Risser, William Proxmire, Paul Soglin etc etc around that time. The name Kwame Salter comes to mind as well. and for fun I voted for a guy who was listed as a member the Communist party just so I could say that I had.
        I was 18. You would have been one year old.


        1. Funny, it would never occur to me to think it’s fun to vote for a communist. Something about the USSR, China, and Cuba. But that’s just me.

          1. Sort of like how it would be fun to cross over & cast votes for the other party’s weaker primary candidate, I guess.

              1. I don’t expect you would. Disagree though we may, I would think you have more character than than that. But there are certainly some who’d enjoy throwing a monkey-wrench in the Republicans primary with Neumann & Walker, and quite possibly the Democrats with Plale and Larson. And certainly, at Libaugh’s request, with the last Democratic Presidential Primary.

                You, I and most people with any integrity have more respect for the voting process than that.

          2. oh well I was amazed by the variety of parties on the ballot. I had of course read about Communists in school but the idea that there was one or more in my home town seemed quite amazing. To vote for one seemed fun, un-paranoid. I was impressed that even a communist can run for office here, with all the bad feelings people have for them. So I voted for the way anyone can have ideas of various types and share them here in this country. But honestly things have gotten really even more hostile these last few years than in the 70s, so I find that depressing. No one values the level of freedom where anyone can run for office, It’s more finger-pointy and nervous today.
            He had zero chance of actually wining anyway. It didn’t matter, even you’;r thinking it’s a big deal shows that things are tense now. Were you alive then? a “Communist” was not such a big deal. Quite often it was just a Hippie guy striking dramatic pose to impress women and get laid more. seriously. Madison had a lot of hippie rhetoric floating around, it was normal. He was probably a superficial Poser, so no need to get Undies in a Bundle.

            also a theoretical Communist would say those are deviations from the Communist ideal. Failures and bad examples. The few TRUE Socialists (not the false OMG OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST bullshit declarations – but real actual Socialists) I have known don’t admire those countries any more than you do. Do you know why we need REAL Communists around? To put true perspective on the political landscape. We NEVER hear from real Socialists in political discourse. They are so few and un-engaged. That’s how people are able to successfully say Obama is one. which is absurd. He is not a socialist/communist by any stretch. But once again, a very clever and successful Republican strategy, to tap into lingering Red fears.

            Interesting how we Americans can condemn the communist countries for their many bad practices and their cruel social structure and abusive institutions, and yet find uses for their gulag prison systems and also “disappear” people like communists do. Hold them without charges like communists do, arrest them on mere suspicion that they might be having bad thoughts, or because someone thinks they might know bad people, and that we can torture them for years or until they die, like communists do, right in those same buildings.
            You’re right, I guess it’s not fun after all.

        1. You me and 9 others. I met him and shook his hand. The rally was enormous though, for how quickly the guy sank out of sight. You’re the only person I can tell, no one remembers who he is. The sad thing was that even at the time, I was aiming for Ferraro and Mondale actually intercepted and shook my hand kinda pushy. Like “Bitch! I’M the presidential candidate” it was in the Capital rotunda area that flesh met flesh.
          I chased them in there after the speeches as they were heading back to the limos and planes or whatever.(i guess I was pushy too) I got a strong impression he was REALLY tired of being side-lined by the First Woman thing. Poor Walter.

  7. My first election was the 1974 presidential election had just turned 18 a few months before. Voted at a one room school house lines were long but finally cast my vote for Gerald Ford.

    1. holy shit. You’re old too.
      I couldn’t have been Ford that was 1976 wasn’t it? Neener neener. I’m sure it was 76
      but anyway! I voted for CARTER

      god I hope that makes you curl right up.

      yeah! baby!

  8. Roanld didn’t register to vote until 1994, heh? That coincides with the last time he was worried about our country, soon after the country elected its first black president – Bill Clinton. With “Contract On America” and Dubya, it’s been smooth sailing until now.

  9. True or not, I would rather have someone who decided to serve in government after some life experience, than someone who decided to run for office at age 12 and acted accordingly. Just because many of us on here follow politics closely, not everyone does and plenty of people don’t think about that stuff until their 30s when they settle down, buy a house, etc.

    1. I agree. For the most part, I trust my own judgment and if I feel that someone who’s come to politics/public service later in life is doing so in earnest, then it’s not a bad thing…better late than never. As a general rule, I think more of those people than life-long, career politicians.

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