Tag Archives: ballots

Trump supporters sue, seek to halt Wisconsin recount

Supporters of Donald Trump sued on Dec. 2, seeking to halt the presidential election recount taking place in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign and Michigan’s attorney general were working to block a recount in that battleground state.

The filings in Wisconsin were made on behalf of Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC and Wisconsin voter Ronald R. Johnson.

The complainants argue that the recount is unconstitutional — in violation of equal protection.

Eric Beach, co-chairman of Great America PAC, stated in a news release, “Jill Stein is clearly not entitled under statute to a recount and for the state board to allow it would be a massive waste of taxpayer resources in violation of the plain reading of the statute — Wisconsinites shouldn’t pay millions to line Jill Stein’s pockets.”

The suit argues that Wisconsin law for recounts is unconstitutional because it fails the Supreme Court’s test for equal protection in the recount process established in Bush v Gore, because the state board has expressed doubt it could complete the process in time and because doing so could deny Wisconsin voters their vote in the Electoral College.

The federal complaint seeks a temporary injunction that would halt the recount.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recounts in Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Stein has argued that irregularities in the votes in those states suggest there could have been tampering with the vote, perhaps through a well-coordinated, highly complex cyberattack.

A statement on Stein’s website says there is a “significant need to verify machine-counted vote totals. To give you a sense of the problem, the voting machines used in Wisconsin were banned in California after they were shown to be highly vulnerable to hacking and malicious programming due to lacking security features. … This is about more than the results of this one election. This is about protecting our democracy and ensuring that ‘we the people’ can have confidence in reported results.”

Stein’s statement on the site reads, “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”

The deadline for the recounts to be complete is Dec. 12 because Dec. 13 is when states must certify their election results or have their electoral votes decided by Congress.

Wisconsin’s recount — the first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years — began on Dec. 1.

Most counties are manually recounting the ballots, although Stein lost a court challenge earlier this week to force hand recounts everywhere.

In Milwaukee County, the plan was to recount the ballots by feeding them through the same machines that counted them on election night.

Ballots were to be counted by hand in Dane County, where Clinton won 71 percent of the vote.

The reported returns — before the recount — showed Clinton lost to Trump by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin.

Michigan’s board was meeting to address the Trump campaign’s opposition to Stein’s request for a hand recount of the ballot.

Additionally, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has called Stein’s request frivolous because, he said, she is not aggrieved — or not aggrieved enough.

On the web

Wisconsin Elections Commission recount updates can be found here.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

The timeline for Wisconsin’s recount of the presidential vote

The Wisconsin Elections Commission unanimously approved the timeline and procedures for responding to recount petitions from the Jill Stein for President Campaign and from Rocky Roque De La Fuente.

At its meeting Monday morning, the commission approved the following timeline:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 29:  Stein and/or De La Fuente campaign submits payment to WEC.  Once full payment is received by either campaign, the WEC will issue a recount order to all presidential candidates.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30:  WEC staff will hold a teleconference for all county clerks and canvass members to go over the recount rules and processes.  The teleconference is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be held via webinar.  Invitation instructions will be sent out next week to all county clerks.  A 24-hour public meeting notice is required for the recount and therefore each county should post their notice by this date.
  • Thursday, Dec. 1:  Recount begins in all Wisconsin counties.  A 24-hour public meeting notice is required.
  • Monday, Dec. 12:  County canvass boards need to be completed by 8 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, December 13:  WEC staff will prepare the official recount canvass certification by 3 p.m.

 

The commission also took action on the Stein campaign’s request that the recount be conducted entirely by hand instead of by equipment, unanimously passing the following motion: “The commission directs staff to decline the Stein campaign request to order counties to tally all ballots by hand and to permit each county to determine whether ballots will be counted by hand or using tabulating equipment, consistent with existing state law.”

In order for there to be a statewide hand-count, the Stein campaign would need to obtain a court order, according to the state.

Finally, the commission directed staff to notify municipal clerks who have been selected to conduct an audit of their electronic voting equipment to delay completion of that audit until after completion of the recount.

America votes: Scenes on Election Day 2016

A poll worker hands out an "I voted" sticker to a voter during the U.S. presidential election at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries, Virginia, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A poll worker hands out an “I voted” sticker to a voter during the U.S. presidential election at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries, Virginia, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton fills out her ballot at the Douglas Grafflin Elementary School in Chappaqua, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton fills out her ballot at the Douglas Grafflin Elementary School in Chappaqua, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Voters head to the polls during the U.S. presidential election in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette
Voters head to the polls during the U.S. presidential election in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette
A woman holds her children while voting in the U.S. presidential election at Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A woman holds her children while voting in the U.S. presidential election at Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New York, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New York, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
People cast their ballots during voting in the 2016 presidential election in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S November 8, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker
People cast their ballots during voting in the 2016 presidential election in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S November 8, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker
Susan Novak scans her ballots after voting during the U.S. presidential election in Medina, Ohio, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Susan Novak scans her ballots after voting during the U.S. presidential election in Medina, Ohio, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Teresa Lesama, originally from Nicaragua, is seen after casting her ballot during the U.S. presidential election at a polling station in the Bronx Borough of New York, U.S. on November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
Teresa Lesama, originally from Nicaragua, is seen after casting her ballot during the U.S. presidential election at a polling station in the Bronx Borough of New York, U.S. on November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
Voters register to vote during the U.S. presidential election at a polling station in the Bronx Borough of New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
Voters register to vote during the U.S. presidential election at a polling station in the Bronx Borough of New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
A voter puts on an "I voted" sticker during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A voter puts on an “I voted” sticker during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
People vote at the Woodman of the World (WOW) Lodge during the U.S. presidential election in Florence, South Carolina, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
People vote at the Woodman of the World (WOW) Lodge during the U.S. presidential election in Florence, South Carolina, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Grace Bell Hardison, a 100-year-old woman recently mentioned by President Barack Obama after attempts were made to purge her from the voter registration list and hence deny her right to vote, receives an "I Voted Today" sticker from election official Elaine Hudnell after she cast her ballot in the U.S. general election from a car in Belhaven, North Carolina, U.S. on November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Grace Bell Hardison, a 100-year-old woman recently mentioned by President Barack Obama after attempts were made to purge her from the voter registration list and hence deny her right to vote, receives an “I Voted Today” sticker from election official Elaine Hudnell after she cast her ballot in the U.S. general election from a car in Belhaven, North Carolina, U.S. on November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A woman arrives for her voting ballot during the U.S presidential election at the James Weldon Johnson Community Centre in the East Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A woman arrives for her voting ballot during the U.S presidential election at the James Weldon Johnson Community Centre in the East Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Poll workers distribute voting materials during the 2016 presidential election in San Diego, California, U.S November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker
Poll workers distribute voting materials during the 2016 presidential election in San Diego, California, U.S November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker
Travis Lopes, 30, casts his vote for the presidential election in Manhatta, New York. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
Travis Lopes, 30, casts his vote for the presidential election in Manhatta, New York. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
Hundreds of Temple University students wait in an hour-long line to vote during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Hundreds of Temple University students wait in an hour-long line to vote during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Hundreds of Temple University students wait in an hour-long line to vote during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Hundreds of Temple University students wait in an hour-long line to vote during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A voter casts their ballot at a polling place inside a Chinese restaurant during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A voter casts their ballot at a polling place inside a Chinese restaurant during the U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A woman drops her ballot during the presidential election at LA County Registrar Office in Norwalk, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
A woman drops her ballot during the presidential election at LA County Registrar Office in Norwalk, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
A woman drops her ballot during the presidential election at LA County Registrar Office in Norwalk, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
A woman drops her ballot during the presidential election at LA County Registrar Office in Norwalk, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
People stand in line to vote during the 2016 presidential election at the Anne Douglas Center at the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
People stand in line to vote during the 2016 presidential election at the Anne Douglas Center at the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni016

To be decided on Election Day in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Democrats are hoping to keep a presidential winning streak alive and avenge a loss that sent a former longtime senator packing six years ago.

Republicans hope to make Donald Trump the first GOP presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan to win in Wisconsin and are working to send Sen. Ron Johnson back to the Senate in his rematch against former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

The presidential and Senate races topped Wisconsin’s ballot Tuesday. Here’s a look at those and other issues on the ballot:

TRUMP VS. CLINTON

Democrats were optimistic that Hillary Clinton would extend their winning streak to eight straight presidential elections. Clinton appeared confident, not campaigning in Wisconsin since losing the Democratic primary in April to Bernie Sanders. She did send running mate Tim Kaine, Sanders and other surrogates to Wisconsin, while Trump personally campaigned despite lukewarm support from high-ranking state officials. House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a Trump appearance with him in October and said he would not campaign or defend him, causing a rift in the party. But Ryan did campaign days before the election with Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

SENATE REMATCH

It’s 2010 all over again in the U.S. Senate race. This time, Johnson is the incumbent and Feingold is the challenger. When Johnson beat Feingold six years ago, he ended Feingold’s 18-year career in the Senate. Johnson argues that having been fired once by voters, Feingold does not deserve to be sent back. But Feingold, who is counting on high Democratic turnout for the presidential race, says Johnson has not led on the issues Wisconsin voters care about and should not be given a second term.

CONGRESS

The 8th Congressional District in northeast Wisconsin is the only one in the state this year with an open seat. Republican Rep. Reid Ribble is retiring after three terms. Republican Mike Gallagher, a former Marine who helped advise Gov. Scott Walker on national security during his brief presidential bid, is running his first race. He’s challenged by Tom Nelson, the Democratic Outagamie County executive and former state representative. It’s the only congressional race with any intrigue this year. Ryan, who represents the 1st District in southeastern Wisconsin, faces nominal opposition. Ryan had more than 1,100-times more money than his Democratic challenger, Ryan Solen, heading into the election — $9.9 million to $8,500.

STATEHOUSE

Even Democrats don’t think they can win majority control of the state Assembly, where Republicans have a 63-36 majority. Democrats were more hopeful in the Senate, where the Republican majority is a tighter 19-14. Either way, the Republican Walker remains as governor and has broad veto authority.

VOTING

This is the first presidential election where Wisconsin voters are required to show photo identification to cast a ballot. Those who don’t have an acceptable ID on Tuesday can cast a provisional ballot, but they then must take additional steps to get credentials for that ballot to count. Any outstanding absentee ballots must be returned by Tuesday. In previous elections they could be postmarked by Tuesday and counted as long as they were received by Friday. Polls are open statewide 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Early voting turnout broke the previous record set in 2012, and overall turnout was predicted to be near 70 percent.

Democrats urge DOJ to assist in overseeing Wisconsin elections

Dear Attorney General Lynch: As you are aware, Wisconsin, which we represent, is among 14 states that have adopted new voter restrictions in advance of the November 8 election.

The state’s 2011 voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, has been repeatedly challenged in federal court due to its discriminatory effects on vulnerable populations’ voting rights.  Due to the law’s contentious nature and poor implementation, coupled with a political environment that is becoming increasingly intimidating, we are requesting the Department of Justice’s assistance in overseeing the state’s monitoring of the election, including by providing poll-monitoring services in Wisconsin.

In 2014, a U.S. district court noted that more than 300,000 Wisconsinites lacked the newly requisite form of identification, and that this population disproportionately included persons of color. Judge Lynn Adelman further observed that state officials “could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” casting serious doubt on the official rationale for the policy.

A second federal court determined earlier this summer that even the “safety net” built into the law to help voters who have trouble obtaining ID was a “wretched failure” that “disenfranchised citizens” who are “overwhelmingly African American and Latino.”

Deeming the provision unconstitutional, Judge James Peterson mandated changes in practice and public education to ensure that that process better serves all Wisconsinites with documentation challenges in obtaining identification so they can vote. Concurring with Judge Adelman, Judge Peterson also expressed “misgivings about whether the law actually promotes confidence and integrity,” and observed that prior to 2011, “Wisconsin had an exemplary election system that produced high levels of voter participation without significant irregularities.”

Unfortunately, since that court order in late July, we have continued to see how Wisconsin’s voter ID law puts the franchise of many Wisconsinites, particularly people of color, in real jeopardy. Over the last month, press reports have revealed that on numerous occasions, Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicle employees provided erroneous and incomplete information to potential voters who are unable to obtain IDs due to a lack of required documentation (like a birth certificate), despite their eligibility for alternative credentials.

These revelations led Judge Peterson to remark on October 12, “I’m very disappointed to see that the state really did nothing in response to my order,” noting that voters are “at the mercy of the DMV, and its staff wasn’t trained well enough to guide people through it.” We are deeply troubled by the prospect of such misinformation contributing to voter disenfranchisement in this election. While further scrutiny by the federal court has prompted state officials to institute additional training and public education efforts at the DMV, there is entirely too much at stake in the limited time left before the election to let this continue without additional oversight.

In addition to misinformation, we are also concerned about potential voter intimidation at the polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges “election rigging.” National figures have suggested that there is widespread voter fraud in our country and have encouraged private citizens to monitor the voting behaviors of certain communities for potential misconduct.

Given the flawed efforts thus far by state officials to properly implement this law, with proof of demonstrably false information having been disseminated to voters just days before the election, we fear that irreparable harm may result—particularly to voters of color, who disproportionately bear the brunt of these policies and any Election Day intimidation efforts.

We ask the Department to provide any resources or assistance it can in order to help our state navigate these unsettling circumstances.  For example, the Department has historically provided poll monitors on Election Day to help ensure that all eligible voters will be permitted to register and exercise their fundamental right to participate in our democracy. We therefore urge the Department of Justice to utilize any available election monitoring resources to ensure voters in Wisconsin are able to safely access the polls.

The right to elect our public representatives is unrivaled in its importance to a fully functioning democracy.  With few days remaining until the election, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to limit the amount of harm caused to our state’s voters.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to ensure the fairness of all elections in our country.

Millennials showing up in 2016 election could decide races

Millennials get a bad rap. They’re labeled narcissistic, self-absorbed and apathetic. (Just look at their nicknames: the selfie generation, generation me, the unemployables.)

And they’re the least likely generation to turn up at the polls this November.

However, many young Americans do care about politics. They may just show it differently than their parents.

At a recent Black and Brown Vote event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many of the attendees were active in student politics and protest movements. L. Malik Anderson, a 21-year-old journalism and communications arts major, helped organize the Oct. 12 panel discussion to encourage people his age to register and vote.

“A lot of (young) people are feeling hopeless, like this election won’t make a difference in their lives,” Anderson said.

Sean Medlin, a 23-year-old recent graduate of UW-Madison who hails from Arizona, said that as an African-American, he is motivated to vote in November — mostly out of fear.

“I think that the presidential race is terrifying,” Medlin said, adding that he believes both major party presidential candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, harbor some measure of racism.

“I feel compromised,” he said. “I don’t want to not vote, and I don’t want Trump to win. So I’m voting for Hillary.”

Jessica Franco-Morales, a 21-year-old student activist from Green Bay, expressed a similar sentiment: “I would say people are not enthused about the presidential election — more like agitated and motivated to vote.”

A self-described “older millennial,” panelist Matthew Braunginn, 31, urged the audience to “get over your apathy” and vote in the upcoming election.

“Ya’ll almost got Bernie Sanders — a quasi-socialist, let’s get real about that — nominated,” said Braunginn, a student engagement specialist with the Middleton-Cross Plains School District. “We (millennials) have a lot of power to really push things in a direction. It takes being involved. It takes voting.”

U.S. Census Bureau figures bear that out. As of April, there were an estimated 69.2 million millennials, roughly defined as Americans age 18 to 35, in the U.S. electorate, according to a Pew Research Center study. This group makes up about a third of the voting-age population, matching the baby boomers.

But millennials consistently have the lowest election turnout among all generations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 17.1 percent of 18- to-24-year-olds voted in 2014, compared with 59.4 percent of those 65 and older.

Among likely Wisconsin voters ages 18 to 29, the Oct. 12 Marquette Law School Poll found 46 percent planned to vote for Clinton and 33 percent for Trump but were more likely than other age groups to support third-party candidates. Twelve percent said they planned to vote for neither candidate. Another 6 percent said they planned to vote for Independent Gary Johnson, while 3 percent remained undecided with the election one month away.

Clayton Causey, 30, of Madison, said he is turned off by the negative tenor of the presidential campaign and is not sure whether he will vote. Causey said people his age appear to be turning away from the two-party system, and he expects some will vote for Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

While millennials have the potential to influence upcoming elections — even the fate of political parties — the question is, will they? Here’s what you need to know about millennials and voting.

 

Millennials are different socially and politically

Millennials are more diverse than any generation before them. According to 2014 census data, 44 percent of them identify as nonwhite.

Elli Denison, director of research for the Center for Generational Kinetics, a Texas-based consulting firm that specializes in generational research, said millennials have grown up with diversity and celebrate it.

Mike Hais, co-author of the book “Millennial Majority: How a New Coalition is Remaking American Politics,” agreed. He said this diversity has led to the generation being more accepting, which affects their political views.

“They tend to be the most socially tolerant generation in America,” Hais said. “Immigration, gay rights and the like, for all these reasons, their attitudes tend to be progressive and tolerant. They really are, in that sense, a very distinctive generation.”

Those distinctions don’t always correlate along party lines, either. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 44 percent of millennials identify as independents, while 28 percent identify as Democrats and 19 percent Republicans.

Hais also called the millennials “the most female-driven generation in American history” thanks to high enrollment numbers for women in college. In 2015, about 11.5 million women were expected to attend colleges and universities, compared with 8.7 million men, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Joan Kuhl, founder of the site WhyMillennialsMatter.com, said the millennial generation is “the most educated generation yet.”

On the personal front, millennials are waiting the longest of any of the grown generations to get married and have their own home. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study and census data on millennials, 32.1 percent lived with their parents, and 57 percent were married by age 30. In comparison, in 1975, 90 percent of 30-year-olds lived on their own, and 89 percent had married.

 

They vote less often than other generations

Why do so few millennials vote? Some experts on the generation said one of the most prevalent reasons is that millennials tend to move around — a lot.

At some point in their lives, 51 percent of millennials moved for employment, 46 percent moved for or to find a romantic partner, and 44 percent had moved for family, according to a study of 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 35 from the moving company Mayflower.

This constant moving around often means re-registering to vote or requesting absentee ballots. However, the 50 states and thousands of counties have different rules, which can lead to confusion.

Some states also passed legislation that seems to target millennials, said Russell Dalton, a political science professor at University of California-Irvine, and author of the book “The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation is Reshaping American Politics.” This includes forcing people to register in person the first time, shortening registration windows, refusing to accept student ID cards or rejecting certain documents as proof of residency.

“There is a whole set of institutional reforms that if politicians wanted to get young people to vote, they could,” Dalton said. “But politicians are happy with the status quo.”

However, even when states and jurisdictions do make it easy to register and vote, it doesn’t necessarily mean millennials will make it to the polls. Millennials often describe themselves as disillusioned and distrustful of the political system.

According to a 2016 poll by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, 47 percent of millennials feel that America is heading on the wrong track, and 48 percent agree that “politics today are no longer able to meet the challenges our country is facing.”

Millennials also lack faith in the traditional two-party system, which is why so many are independent.

Political strategist Luke Macias, CEO of Macias Strategies LLC, said millennials just aren’t as connected to local governments as older generations, so they don’t see the value in voting. But, said Macias, “Baby boomers were apathetic at 18 too,” and he predicted their involvement will grow as they age.

 

They care about a wide range of issues

Because millennials tend to distrust politicians, they often pay more attention and spend their time on issues rather than parties. Maurice Forbes, the youth vote director for NextGen Climate in Nevada, said he sees this trend with college students.

“I hear a lot from theses campuses across Nevada that ‘I care about these specific issues that are going to be affecting me and less so about a particular candidate that is expressing their views on that,’ ” Forbes said.

But it’s not just two or three main issues that stand out to millennials. They feel passionate about a wide range of issues.

Millennials don’t necessarily consume news and information the same way previous generations did — from the nightly broadcast news or the daily newspaper. But that doesn’t mean millennials don’t care about the world, according to a study by the Media Insight Project.

In fact, the study suggested that millennials’ access to technology and social-media platforms has actually widened their awareness of issues.

Nevertheless, recent national polls have indicated millennials often care most about the same issues other generations do: No. 1 being the economy, including jobs, minimum wage and paid leave, according to a USA Today/Rock the Vote poll.

Money issues also play a big role in their lives, and college affordability and student debt was the second most popular answer. Other top issues included foreign policy and terrorism, health care, guns and climate change, according to the poll.

 

They can change American politics

Historically, millennials have not shown up to vote. But that does not mean the generation hasn’t influenced political institutions.

The millennial population overtook baby boomers as the largest generation in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Utah, the millennial generation has been larger since at least 2000, according to the Utah Foundation, a public policy research firm.

Salt Lake City is home to the second-highest percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds in the country among major cities — second only to Austin, Texas. And the city’s politics reflect its young population.

The city has long been a left-leaning island in the middle of historically conservative Utah, but the city’s politics are becoming even more progressive — and election data show the liberalism is slowly spreading to nearby counties.

Last year, Salt Lake City elected an openly lesbian mayor, Jackie Biskupski. And this year, the city rallied around Bernie Sanders.

Experts said these changes would not have happened without millennials.

“The place has just become increasingly more progressive, as people from outside of Utah move to Utah,” said Pamela Perlich, the director of demographic research at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Millennials define citizenship not as voting, “but being concerned about other people,” Dalton said. And they often show that concern by volunteering.

“Millennials are probably the most involved generation in history in causes and nonprofit endeavors and community involvement,” Hais said.

He predicted that when millennials begin to take office, the hyper-partisan nature of politics will shift to something more compromise driven.

“What we see now is terrible gridlock because of that baby boomer division,” Hais said. “They can’t see eye to eye, but millennials will be different. Millennial Democrats and millennial Republicans are closer together.”

ON THE WEB

Information about all of the requirements to register and vote in Wisconsin’s Nov. 8 election is available at www.gab.wi.gov/voters.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Sean Holstege of News21 and Dee J. Hall and Alexandra Arriaga of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism contributed to this report. This report is part of a project on voting rights in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism distributed this report. For more from this collaborative series, see http://wisconsinwatch.org/series/voting-wars-by-news21/

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

This report is part of the project titled “Voting Wars – Rights | Power | Privilege,” produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, a national investigative reporting project by top college journalism students across the country and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

PHOTO

University of Wisconsin-Madison students register to vote on Oct. 12 at the Multicultural Student Center. The registration drive was part of the Black and Brown Vote event aimed at urging millennials to vote in November.
Credit:Alexandra Arriaga/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Wisconsin officials stand firm on absentee ballot requirements despite problems

Wisconsin elections officials are standing firm on what must be included on an absentee ballot in order for it to be counted, a position supported by state law that could lead to thousands of votes being tossed.

A new Wisconsin law says absentee ballots that are “missing the address of a witness” can’t be counted, but it doesn’t define how much address information is needed for the ballot to count. That’s led to questions from local election clerks about how to handle ballots with missing information.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission advised earlier that the witness should provide a street number, street name and name of municipality, a stance that Elections Commission administrator Mike Haas reiterated in a memo Wednesday.

“The staff continues to believe the current guidance on the issue strikes the appropriate balance,” Haas wrote.

A more strict reading of the law, requiring additional information such as a zip code, state and apartment number, is defensible but “seemed overly harsh in practice,” Haas said.

The recommendation will be voted on at the commission’s Friday meeting.

Milwaukee elections administrator Neil Albrecht, who told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week that the requirement could lead to thousands of ballots not counting, did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Albrecht had asked the commission for the authority to send letters to voters saying his staff will fill in the witnesses’ address unless the voter advises otherwise. But the commission told clerks they must obtain the voter’s consent before adding such information.

There were 70,740 absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin as of Oct. 7 — only a fraction of the total absentee votes that ultimately will be cast, as more in-person early voting locations are opened and the Nov. 8 election nears.

The law requiring witness addresses on absentee ballots was signed by Gov. Scott Walker in March. Before the new law, witnesses were supposed to include their addresses but it wasn’t required in the law, so ballots were still counted if the address was missing.

Fair Elections warns: Thousands of Wis. absentee ballots at risk of rejection

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Fair Elections Legal Network are calling on the Wisconsin Elections Commission to take swift action so thousands of absentee voters are not disenfranchised in the Nov. 8 election.

As of last week, about 400 completed ballots in Milwaukee and 200 in Racine were at risk of not being counted because of an “incomplete” witness address — often because the municipality was not recorded.

The confusion stems from legislation passed last year, Act 261, which requires the rejection of absentee ballots with a missing witness address on the certificate envelope.

The legislation does not define a “missing address.”

An Oct. 4 memo the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent to local election officials stated a witness must include a street number, street name and municipality, but the absentee ballot certificate and instructions did not inform absentee voters that technical errors such as omitting a municipality would result in rejection.

This new complete address policy was sent to the local clerks after absentee voting was already under way, so absentee voters were not given notice, according to watchdog groups.

These groups cautioned that the number of ballots with witness addresses that contain a street address but no municipality likely will increase and it is up to local clerks to voluntarily contact voters to correct their absentee ballot submission.

“This is a challenge because most voters do not provide phone numbers or email addresses and mailing the absentee ballots back to voters will delay notification and corrections,” the groups stated in a news release.

Also, ballots could be received up until Election Day, leaving little time to contact absentee voters — and many of them could be away from home.

The groups want the elections commission to adopt a new policy for witness addresses on absentee ballots and accept submissions that include a residential street address but lack the municipality name.

They said a lawsuit is being prepared in case the Wisconsin Elections Commission does not take action this week. The commission is set to meet on Friday.

On the Web

The letter to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Early voting strongest in Wisconsin’s Democratic counties

About 1 in 3 absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far have come from the state’s largest and most heavily Democratic counties, giving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign a reason to be optimistic about its chances here.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, singled out Dane and Milwaukee counties as places around the country where early voting turnout was strong.

Wisconsin voters do not register by party, so it’s impossible to know whether more Republicans or Democrats are voting early. But high turnout in Madison and Milwaukee, the state’s two largest and most Democratic cities, is essential for Clinton’s campaign and that of Senate candidate Russ Feingold.

Numbers compiled by the state Elections Commission show that as of Friday, 70,740 absentee ballots have been returned statewide. Of those, 22,511 were from either Milwaukee or Dane counties, or about 31 percent of the total cast statewide. By comparison, in the heavily Republican suburban Milwaukee counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington, only 6,420 early votes have been cast.

In-person absentee voting hasn’t started yet in many Republican parts of the state. But even when counting only mailed-in absentee ballots, about twice as many have been returned in Milwaukee and Dane counties compared with Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday downplayed the early returns, saying that given the unconventional campaign Donald Trump is running, “it’s hard to tell if conventional trends will be in line.” Walker said he was confident that grass roots organizing by Republicans will drive strong turnout for GOP candidates.

Walker referred to the unconventional nature of the Trump campaign the day The Washington Post broke the story about a videotape in which Trump made lewd and vulgar comments about groping women and trying to have sex with a married woman. At the time, he already was married to his current wife.

Milwaukee and Madison began offering in-person absentee voting on Sept. 26 after a federal judge ruled in July that a two-week limit on voting early was unconstitutional. Other smaller cities, towns and villages have also been allowing voters to cast ballots weeks ahead of the election. Still others will begin or expand early voting opportunities in the next three weeks.

Clinton’s and Feingold’s campaigns have been making a push in recent days for early voting in Wisconsin, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren coming to the state for get-out-the-vote drives. Feingold appeared with Sanders on Wednesday and he planned to attend a downtown Madison rally with Warren on Friday. Former President Bill Clinton was expected to campaign in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Trump and Feingold’s opponent, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, have also been encouraging their supporters to get to the polls early. Trump had scheduled a campaign stop Saturday in southeast Wisconsin, where he was to be joined by Johnson, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Walker and other Republican officeholders and top officials. However, Ryan said on Friday that he was sickened by the tape containing Trump’s comments about women and Trump would not be joining him at the event.

Early voting opportunities vary across the state. Green Bay, where people lined up to cast ballots in the April presidential primary and there is an open congressional seat, has only one location for early voting open at the city clerk’s office downtown. That has generated complaints from Democrats who want early voting to also be available on the University of Wisconsin campus about 5 miles away.

City clerk Kris Teske has said she doesn’t have the staff or budget to expand hours and locations.

Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has pushed for expanding early voting in Green Bay and other cities, including Kenosha and Racine. Scot Ross, director of the group, said it was “unfortunate” that early voting hours and locations are so haphazard across the state.

“Everybody should have as long of a period to vote as possible,” Ross said.

Madison and Milwaukee plan on expanded early voting locations. Milwaukee has had just one voting location since Sept. 26, but two more sites open Monday. Eleven polling places are open in and around Madison, with three to open later in October at the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College.

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee elections commissioner, said he wasn’t surprised that the first 10 days of early in-person voting resulted in only about 3,200 ballots cast in his city. In Madison, about 4,800 people had voted in-person absentee by Thursday morning.

As of Friday, more than half of the early votes cast so far — about 38,793 out of 70,740 — have been done in person. In 2012, more than 512,000 people cast in-person absentee ballots statewide in the presidential race out of about 659,000 absentee ballots in total.

Limits to voting access go on trial in North Carolina

Changes to North Carolina’s voting access rules finally are on trial this week, with a judge ultimately determining whether Republican legislators illegally diminished the opportunity for minorities to participate in the political process.

The U.S. Justice Department, voting and civil rights groups and individuals sued soon after the General Assembly approved an elections overhaul law in summer 2013. After interim arguments reached the U.S. Supreme Court last fall, the trial began on July 13 and expected to last two to three weeks addresses the crux of the allegations.

Provisions being argued in a Winston-Salem federal courtroom reduced the number of days of early voting from 17 to 10, eliminated same-day registration during the early-vote period and prohibited the counting of Election Day ballots cast in the wrong precinct. 

Attorneys representing those who sued contend the restrictions violate the federal Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution by throwing up large electoral obstacles to minority voters historically subjected to racial bias and should be thrown out.

“We will show that the law is a calculated effort by politicians to manipulate the voting rules by targeting the very measures that African-Americans and Latino voters use at significantly higher rates than white voters,” said Donita Judge, an attorney with the Advancement Project, which is representing the state NAACP in the lawsuits. 

Attorneys for the state and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the law, say there’s no evidence the law will diminish the ability of black citizens to elect who they want representing them. None of the restrictions are barred by the Constitution, according to a brief previewing their case, and black voter participation increased during the 2014 elections — when changes were first implemented — compared to the 2010 elections.

“We are very confident our common-sense election laws will be upheld by the court,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, who helped shepherd the 2013 legislation. 

The provision in the law setting a photo identification requirement to vote in person in 2016 won’t be contested right now.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder set aside that part of the litigation after the Legislature last month changed the mandate so more people having trouble obtaining an ID can vote without one. State attorneys have now asked Schroeder to dismiss the voter ID complaints.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have 100 people on their witness list. One of them, Sandra Beatty of Greenville, is a black double amputee and legally blind. Beatty said by deposition she tried to vote last October but found out later the ballot failed to count because she wasn’t registered. 

“It would be a blessing if I was able to do it the same day and vote the same day” through same-day registration due to her transportation challenges, Beatty testified. A state’s attorney pointed out later in the deposition that registration can still be completed by mail. 

Schroeder isn’t expected to rule immediately after this month’s arguments. Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California-Irvine School of Law and election law expert, said the U.S. government and other groups who sued will face an uphill climb to win in trial court because the Voting Rights Act standard being cited is difficult to meet. 

Still, Hasen called the 2013 North Carolina law “the single biggest rollback of voting rights in one package that we’ve seen”since the 1965 federal voting law. 

The state law was approved just after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Voting Rights Act provision requiring the Justice Department to sign off on voting changes in several before they could be enforced. Hasen said the case ultimately could lead to “preclearance” again for North Carolina and other states if courts determine their election laws were intentionally used to discriminate.

“So the stakes are very high here,” Hasen said.