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Trump prevails in Electoral College vote, protesters respond

Republican Donald Trump prevailed in Electoral College voting on Dec. 19 to officially win election as the next president, easily dashing a long-shot push by detractors to try to block him from gaining the White House.

Trump, who is set to take office on Jan. 20, garnered more than the 270 electoral votes required to win, even as at least half a dozen electors broke with tradition to vote against their own state’s directives, the largest number of “faithless electors” seen in more than a century.

The Electoral College vote is normally a formality but took on extra prominence this year after a group of Democratic activists sought to persuade Republicans to cross lines and vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. She won the nationwide popular vote even as she failed to win enough state-by-state votes in the acrimonious Nov. 8 election.

Protesters disrupted Wisconsin’s Electoral College balloting.

Also, in Austin, Texas, about 100 people chanting: “Dump Trump” and waving signs reading: “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You” gathered at the state capitol trying to sway electors.

In the end, however, more Democrats than Republicans went rogue, underscoring deep divisions within their party.  At least four Democratic electors voted for someone other than Clinton, while two Republicans turned their backs on Trump.

With nearly all votes counted, Trump had clinched 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227, according to an Associated Press tally of the voting by 538 electors across the country.

“I will work hard to unite our country and be the president of all Americans,” Trump said in a statement responding to the results.

The Electoral College assigns each state electors equal to its number of representatives and senators in Congress. The District of Columbia also has three electoral votes. The votes will be officially counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

When voters go to the polls to cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing a presidential candidate’s preferred slate of electors for their state.

‘FAITHLESS ELECTORS’

The “faithless electors” as they are known represent a rare break from the tradition of casting an Electoral College ballot as directed by the outcome of that state’s popular election.

The most recent instance of a “faithless elector” was in 2004, according to the Congressional Research Service. The practice has been very rare in modern times, with only eight such electors since 1900, each in a different election.

The two Republican breaks came from Texas, where the voting is by secret ballot. One Republican elector voted for Ron Paul, a favorite among Libertarians and former Republican congressman, and another for Ohio Governor John Kasich, who challenged Trump in the race for the Republican nomination.

Republican elector Christopher Suprun from Texas had said he would not vote for Trump, explaining in an op-ed in the New York Times that he had concerns about Trump’s foreign policy experience and business conflicts.

On the Democratic side, it appeared to be the largest number of electors not supporting their party’s nominee since 1872, when 63 Democratic electors did not vote for party nominee Horace Greeley, who had died after the election but before the Electoral College convened, according to Fairvote.org. Republican Ulysses S. Grant had won re-election in a landslide.

Four of the 12 Democratic electors in Washington state broke ranks, with three voting for Colin Powell, a former Republican secretary of state, and one for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American elder who has protested oil pipeline projects in the Dakotas.

Bret Chiafalo, 38, of Everett, Washington, was one of three votes for Powell. He said he knew Clinton would not win but believed Powell was better suited for the job than Trump.

The founding fathers “said the electoral college was not to elect a demagogue, was not to elect someone influenced by foreign powers, was not to elect someone who is unfit for office. Trump fails on all three counts, unlike any candidate we’ve ever seen in American history,” Chiafalo said in an interview.

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‘GREAT ANGST’

Washington’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, said after the vote that the Electoral College system should be abolished. “This was a very difficult decision made this year. There is great angst abroad in the land,” Inslee said.

Twenty-four states have laws trying to prevent electors — most of whom have close ties to their parties — from breaking ranks.

In Maine, Democratic elector David Bright first cast his vote for Clinton’s rival for the party nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who carried the state in the party nominating contest. His vote was rejected, and he voted for Clinton on a second ballot.

In Hawaii, one of the state’s four Democratic electors cast a ballot for Sanders in defiance of state law binding electors to the state’s Election Day outcome, according to reports from the Los Angeles Times and Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspapers.

In Colorado, where a state law requires electors to cast their ballots for the winner of the state’s popular vote, elector Michael Baca tried to vote for Kasich – but was replaced with another elector.

In Minnesota, one of the state’s 10 electors would not cast his vote for Clinton as required under state law, prompting his dismissal and an alternate to be sworn in. All 10 of the state’s electoral votes were then cast for her.

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Ellison says he’ll resign from Congress if elected DNC head

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison remains the early favorite to become the next leader of the Democratic National Committee, amid resistance to the Minnesota liberal’s bid from key parts of the party’s base.

The contest is evolving into a larger fight over the future of the party.

Backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are throwing their support behind Ellison while some Hillary Clinton supporters are searching for an alternative.

Ellison picked up a powerful endorsement recently from the AFL-CIO, which issued a statement calling him a “proven leader.”

But his candidacy remains under siege.

Ellison has faced vocal criticism from prominent Democrats, Jewish groups and some union leaders, who have questioned his comments about Israel, his defense of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and his commitment to his own party.

Earlier this month, a union leader criticized the AFL-CIO for only including Ellison’s name, along with the choices to abstain or “make no endorsement at this time,” on the ballot sent to union members.

A federation faction “seems to want to push our movement further and further to the left,” Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said in a recent statement. “That is a recipe for disaster as the most recent election results just showed.”

An editorial in an official Nation of Islam publication, “The Final Call,” quoted articles that Ellison wrote in the 1990s praising Farrakhan as a “sincere, tireless and uncompromising advocate.”

The editorial accused Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to Congress, of being a “hypocrite” for now making a “cowardly and baseless repudiation” of Farrakhan.

Ellison did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

His history with the group has distressed some Jewish organizations. The Anti-Defamation League last week said Ellison’s past remarks about Israel were “disturbing and disqualifying,” and Haim Saban, a party donor deeply involved with Israeli issues, accused Ellison of being an “anti-Semite.”

Hoping to assuage some of the concerns, Ellison said he would resign his seat in Congress if he were picked as chairman by DNC members at the late February elections.

“Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising,” Ellison said in a statement. “I will be ‘all in’ to meet the challenge.”

The contest has divided Democratic leaders, placing Obama’s team at odds with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and his replacement, New York’s Chuck Schumer, whose early support for Ellison was seen as an effort to shore up the liberal flank in Congress.

Part of the issue is personal. Ellison has, at times, broken ranks to criticize Obama, the head of the party he now hopes to lead.

While White House aides say that Obama is unlikely to publicly comment on the race, behind the scenes his backers have been speaking with Democratic donors and potential candidates to see who else might be persuaded to run, according to several Democrats familiar with the discussions. These Democrats were not authorized to publicly discuss those private discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

High on the White House’s list of preferred candidates is Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who’s weighing whether to run for the party job or for Maryland governor, said the Democrats.

A vocal contingent is pushing for a Latino leader at the DNC, arguing that the growing demographic group is crucial to the party’s future and should be represented at the highest levels.

Others have been trying to draft Vice President Joe Biden and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, both of whom have ruled out a bid.

South Carolina’s party chairman, Jaime Harrison, and the party head in New Hampshire, Ray Buckley, have announced bids, though they haven’t gotten much traction.

Missouri’s secretary of state, Jason Kander, who attracted attention for running a surprisingly competitive Senate race this year, says he’s gotten calls exploring his interest in the post.

“I’m going to do all that I can for the cause of progress,” Kander said. “If it turns out that my party wants me to serve as chair I’m open to that.”

Ellison backers argue that the party must take a more populist approach after the 2016 losses, saying Democratic leaders did too little to address the economic pain of working-class voters.

“Keith brings a breath of fresh air to the Democratic party,” said DNC member Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “He believes in strengthening the economics for working families across the country.”

But some are more concerned with campaign mechanics than message, saying the party’s outreach, bench and fundraising languished under Wasserman Schultz.

“Ellison talks about vision when we need a fundraiser and organizer,” said Bob Mulholland, a longtime California Democratic operative and DNC member.

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

Judge drops riot charge against Democracy Now! journalist Goodman

Democracy Now! reporter Amy Goodman won’t face a riot charge stemming from her coverage of a protest against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, with a judge saying Monday that there was no cause for it.

Judge John Grinsteiner refused to sign off on the misdemeanor riot charge, which prosecutor Ladd Erickson had pursued after dismissing a misdemeanor criminal trespass charge against the journalist on Friday. However, authorities would not rule out the possibility Goodman could face other charges.

Erickson has said Goodman was acting like a protester when she reported on a clash between protesters and pipeline security last month. Her defense attorney, Tom Dickson, maintains Goodman was doing her job.

The protests have drawn thousands of people to the area where Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners is trying to wrap up construction on the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. Opponents of the pipeline worry about potential effects on drinking water on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and farther downstream, as well as destruction of cultural artifacts.

Goodman is one about 140 people who have been charged in recent weeks with interfering with the pipeline’s construction in North Dakota.

After the judge’s decision Monday, Erickson referred questions to Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey. Asked whether authorities would pursue other charges, Preskey said, “It’s all under review.” She would not elaborate.

Goodman told reporters outside the courthouse that Grinsteiner’s decision was a “vindication for all journalists and a vindication for everyone.”

Dickson said prosecutors are wrong to continue to pursue charges against Goodman.

“The first charge was frivolous and the second charge was even more frivolous,” Dickson said. “Enough is enough. They need to let it go.”

An arrest warrant was issued for Goodman after she reported on a clash on Sept. 3, when Standing Rock Sioux officials said crews bulldozed several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” on private land. Energy Transfer Partners denies those allegations.

Law enforcement officials said four security guards and two guard dogs received medical treatment. A tribal spokesman said six people were bitten by guard dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

Goodman, who is based in New York, said she “came to North Dakota to cover this epic struggle … what we found was horrifying.”

About 200 protesters gathered outside the county courthouse Monday as Goodman was set to appear for a hearing that never happened. Many held signs that included, “This is not a riot.” About 100 officers in riot gear were stationed outside the courthouse to monitor those protesters.

Morton County sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller confirmed one man was arrested on charges including disorderly conduct.

Authorities said pipeline protesters earlier Monday briefly blocked a Bismarck-Mandan bridge across the Missouri River. They dispersed when ordered by law officers.

Carlos Lauria, senior Americas coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said any charges against Goodman are an attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of “significant public interest.”

Goodman’s show airs daily on hundreds of radio and TV stations and over the internet.

It’s not the first time Goodman has had a brush with the law while covering events. She and two of her producers received $100,000 in a settlement over their arrests during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

St. Paul and Minneapolis agreed to pay a combined $90,000 while the federal government agreed to pay $10,000. The lawsuit named the federal government because a Secret Service agent confiscated the journalists’ press credentials.

Goodman said at the time the money would go “to support independent, unfettered” journalism about such events.

MoveOn hiring organizers for United Against Hate campaign

MoveOn.org Political Action is hiring dozens of organizers to serve as state directors and field organizers in eight battleground states through November.

The hiring push will create a major field presence in key states — including Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — where organizers and MoveOn volunteers will work to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton, and help take back control of Senate.

The organizers will recruit, train and support grassroots leaders, “focusing on communities that Trump has attacked and coordinating volunteer teams who will knock on hundreds of thousands of doors and hold conversations with thousands of likely voters in coming weeks,” according to a statement from MoveOn.

MoveOn.org is building field programs with paid organizers and volunteer leaders in:

• Arizona

• Florida

• Iowa

• Nevada

• New Hampshire

• North Carolina

• Ohio

• Pennsylvania.

MoveOn said it has more than 1 million active members in these states.

Also, MoveOn members have voted to endorse Senate candidates in seven of the eight states:

• Ann Kirkpatrick (Arizona)

• Patty Judge (Iowa)

• Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire)

• Deborah Ross (North Carolina)

• Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada)

• Ted Strickland (Ohio)

• Katie McGinty (Pennsylvania)

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to ensure that Donald Trump never sets foot in the White House, and MoveOn members across the country have the power to influence this election by helping elect Hillary Clinton and winning key Senate seats across the country,” said Victoria Kaplan, organizing director for MoveOn.org.

She continued, “We know that face-to-face conversations with voters are the number one most effective way to increase voter participation and that’s why we’re unleashing the phenomenal energy of volunteer leaders and the millions of MoveOn members to canvass their own neighborhoods and communities, where they can make the biggest difference.”

MoveOn senior adviser Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We know that our task is not just to win an election, but to demonstrate that bigotry is a losing strategy and to build power to win on the issues that matter to everyday people: income inequality, police and criminal justice reform, climate change, good jobs, immigrants’ rights, and more.”

Earlier this year, MoveOn members voted to launch a multi-million dollar effort against Trump.

Since then, MoveOn has kicked off a major voter contact effort, opened a rapid-response video lab to produce dynamic content around the election, launched a nationwide Laughter Trumps Hate comedy contest and published an open letter featuring more than 100 prominent artists standing against Trump.

Delegates: Kaine appeals to moderates, not disenchanted Sanders supporters

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention say Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine for VP will appeal to moderates, but do little to soothe disenchanted Bernie Sanders supporters.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia received praise for his wide-ranging experience, even as many delegates acknowledged that he would not generate the level of enthusiasm or party unity as a progressive or first-ever Latino pick.

Sanders delegates in particular hoped for the selection of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who aligns more closely with Sanders on positions such as regulating Wall Street.

“People are going to discount Tim Kaine, and have in the past, and it’s going to be a lot more exciting than maybe what Bernie Sanders delegates will think,” said Katie Naranjo, a Clinton superdelegate from Austin, Texas.

She said Kaine may seem like a “conventional choice,” but he will balance the ticket well for the general election, as the Democrats take on billionaire Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Delegates this weekend are heading to Philadelphia for their convention that starts Monday, with those who support Sanders indicating uncertainty about embracing a Clinton ticket. Sanders endorsed Clinton earlier this month.

It “was a horrible pick,” Angie Morelli, a Sanders delegate from Nevada, said of Clinton selecting Kaine. “In a time when she is trying to cater to Sanders supporters, it was more catering to conservative voters and she’s not going to get any wave from it.”

Morelli said she’s bothered by Kaine’s association with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade pact that Sanders and Clinton say they oppose.

Dwight Bullard, a Florida state senator, said not one of the 70-plus Sanders delegates in his state including himself is happy with Kaine’s selection.

He worried the centrist choice could magnify progressives’ view that Clinton will backtrack on issues important to them, such as climate change and tuition aid for college students.

“If you bring in someone with great credentials, that’s fine, but inclusivity of the progressive agenda can be a more important message,” Bullard said.

Sanders delegates were mulling ways to show support for Sanders during the convention, such as a walkout after the roll call of states on July 26, according to excerpts of a Slack thread on July 22 obtained by The Associated Press.

But many others also said they wanted to get direction from Sanders, who was scheduled to meet privately with his delegates on July 25.

“Delegates are intensely discussing and considering options,” said Norman Solomon, a San Francisco delegate who called Kaine’s selection “unacceptable.”

Solomon leads the Bernie Delegates Network, a loose organization of more than 1,200 delegates.

Clinton settled on Kaine after vetting a diverse group of candidates that included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of two black senators, also was considered.

Clinton delegate Roger Salazar of California said he had been  rooting for Clinton to select U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Hispanic and one of the most powerful Democrats in the House.

But Salazar, a longtime party strategist, called Kaine “a pretty solid choice.”

Jocelyn Bucaro, an Ohio superdelegate and Clinton supporter, praised Kaine as someone who would appeal to a broad range of voters in swing states, including Republicans who are uncomfortable with Trump.

“The most important consideration is his ability to step in as president, and he clearly has the experience, knowledge, intelligence and temperament to do that,” Bucaro said.

State’s civil service system ends, let the cronyism begin

An overhaul of the state’s 111-year-old civil service system leaves 30,000 state workers and an untold number of job applicants to face a return to the political patronage approach that the system was designed to eliminate.

Perhaps most significantly, the new system eliminates the use of objective testing to guide hiring decisions. That means state jobs can be handed out as political favors — no proof of knowledge required.

It’s not as if such patronage is unthinkable. Gov. Scott Walker’s administration repeatedly has gotten into trouble for just that. For example, the governor gave a high-level, $81,500-per-year job as a bureau director to the son of a donor who’d given Walker more than $120,000 in campaign contributions. Walker didn’t seem to mind that the young man had two drunk-driving convictions and neither management experience nor a college degree.

Faced with outrage, Walker changed his mind on that particular decision. Under the new law, we fear there will be too many patronage hires for the media to keep up.

Without using exams to ensure some level of competence, state agencies can hire applicants with partisan connections and oust anyone they believe disagrees with the governor’s policies.

“Showing up at work with the wrong bumper sticker on your car could endanger your career,” Rick Badger, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 32, which represents state and local public workers in Wisconsin, wrote in a recent opinion piece. “That’s the problem with a one-party control by shortsighted ideologues obsessed with stacking the deck and preserving their monopoly.”

In unveiling the plan last fall, Walker offered up an example of why “reform” was needed. Unfortunately for Wisconsinites, it was a patently false and inflammatory anecdote about the state’s railroad commissioner being prevented by civil service law from firing two railroad workers who had sex on state time and property. Trying again to justify civil service “reform,” the bill’s Republican authors said the measure would help agencies fill vacancies more speedily as Baby Boomers retire and ensure workers who behave badly are dealt with. We’ll see.

As The Associated Press has noted, the changes to the civil service system mark a trifecta for Walker when it comes to labor law.

He did away with almost all public workers’ collective bargaining rights in 2011 and last year signed a measure that made Wisconsin a “right-to-work” state. Under that law, employees can benefit from union-negotiated contracts without having to pay union fees. The ultimate goal of both laws is to starve unions, making labor cheaper for wealthy campaign donors.

And now, under the new approach to state employment, job seekers need no longer take competency exams but need only an application and a resume — and presumably, connections. Hiring decisions will be centralized within Walker’s Department of Administration and state employees will no longer be given preference when filling other state positions.

The law also allows agencies to fire, suspend or demote workers without imposing progressive discipline.

One portion of the law — creating a performance management system to measure performance — has yet to be developed. Walker’s administration told state lawmakers they’re giving agencies until Sept. 1 to develop the system, which will determine the order of layoffs.

Trifecta indeed.

In what has become a familiar pattern of deception, Walker said a year before gutting the civil service system that he wouldn’t touch it. He pulled the same stunt with making Wisconsin a “right-to-work” state, saying he had no interest in doing it about a year before he did it.

And, of course, Walker also said his euphemistically named “budget-repair bill” would leave collective bargaining “fully intact” before he gutted state unions.

Now Walker’s demolition of the civil service system leaves us wondering what’s next. With this governor, there’s always a big surprise around the corner, and it’s never one that moves Wisconsin forward.

Community bulletin board: Energy fair, art grants, awards and more

Energized for sustainable future: The annual Energy Fair promoting sustainable and renewable energy takes place June 17–19 in Custer. The fair, presented by Midwest Renewable Energy Association, is in its 27th year, making it the nation’s longest-running energy education event of its kind. Attendees can expect more than 250 workshops, as well as entertainment and exhibit booths and food and beverage vendors. For more, go to theenergyfair.org.

For the arts: The Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission awarded 47 grants totaling $98,494 for community arts, cultural and history programs. The county dollars were combined with funds from the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. For more, go to danearts.com.

Rummaging for improvements: The Milwaukee NARI Foundation Inc., the educational and charitable arm of the Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council, raised about $8,500 in May with the 11th annual Home Improvement Rummage Sale. NARI provides financial and educational support to students pursuing careers in home improvement and remodeling, while helping to reduce the amount of construction and demolition materials in landfills. For more, go to milwaukeenari.org.

PPAWI’s praise: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is honoring state Sen. Fred Risser’s contributions to women’s health with a lifetime achievement award. Riser is the longest serving state senator in the United States and has been at the forefront of championing policies that women, men and families benefit from today, PPAWI said.

“From the repeal of Wisconsin’s Comstock Laws in 1976 that made birth control and information about contraception available to all Wisconsin women, regardless of their marital status, to enhancing rape victims’ access to birth control to prevent pregnancy and comprehensive sex education for youth in our schools, Sen. Risser has lead the way,” read a statement from the organization. For more, go to ppawi.org.

Wright way to summer: Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin presents in June a tour of 10 architecturally significant buildings in the Racine area, including several Wright-designed structures and seven sites inspired by Wright’s vision. For more, go to wrightinwisconsin.org.

Get to the Big Gig: Pre-Fare digital ticket service is a simpler, cheaper way for Summerfest celebrants to get to the festival grounds this year. Plus, until June 24, people who purchase a Pre-Fare ticket can get a free weekday ticket to Summerfest. For more, go to ridemcts.com.

ART GUIDE: The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is offering a training course for docents on Tuesdays, Sept. 20–Dec. 13, at the museum. MMoCA docents conduct tours of the museum’s exhibitions to groups that range from school-age children to older adults. They also involve museum visitors in discussions that encourage them to look closely at and interpret works of art. For a position description and application, visit mmoca.org and click Support/Docent Program, or contact Sheri Castelnuovo at 608.257.0158 or sheri@mmoca.org. The application deadline is Sept. 9.

WIND ENERGY: Wisconsin Public Power Inc. plans to invest in wind power for its next electric generation need, according to a news release from Clean Wisconsin praising the development. WPPI recently issued a request for proposals for 100 MW of wind power, which is enough electric generation to power approximately 30,000 homes. WPPI is one of several utilities that met the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires that 10 percent of electricity come from renewable sources, several years ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Send community announcements to lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

On the community bulletin board …

STRONG PERFORMANCE

The United Performing Arts Fund announced a record 2016 campaign goal of $12,260,000 at a celebration at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. The goal was announced at the conclusion of a program featuring a tribute to Yip Harburg with an appearance by Aaron Harburg, the lyricist’s great-grandson, and performances by Present Music, Skylight Music Theatre, Danceworks, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and First Stage. For more, go to www.upaf.org.

The 14th annual Local Farmer Open House takes place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 12 at the Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park.
The 14th annual Local Farmer Open House takes place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 12 at the Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park.

LEFT ON THE DIAL

The Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative recently launched a campaign called Radio-Active to “break the right-wing media monopoly in Milwaukee.” Organizers plan house parties and other events to build support and raise money to monitor right-wing radio programs and explore the goal of operating a progressive talk radio station. For more, go to Radio-Active on Facebook.

DRIVING TO THE DMV

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and community leaders in Dane County announced a new vehicle to help people obtain the photo ID cards needed to vote in Wisconsin elections. The vehicle is a ride service bringing people to the Department of Motor Vehicles throughout March. Volunteers also will be connecting with people at various venues to offer information about ID requirements and voter registration. For more, go to voteridwisconsin.org.

150 FILMS, 8 DAYS, 30,000 PEOPLE

The Wisconsin Film Festival — presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arts Institute in association with the school’s Department of Communication Arts — takes place April 14-21. The largest university-managed film fest in the nation is known for its diverse offerings, including independent, international, documentary, experimental, avant-garde, classic and children’s film, as well as the Wisconsin’s Own Competition. For more, go to 2016.wifilmfest.org.

PARTY FAVORITE

The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County is honoring the Wisconsin chapter of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce with its “Organization of the Year” award. The celebration, with other awards presentations, is set for 5:30 p.m. March 13 at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee. Special guests include U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore. For more, email awards_dinner@milwaukeedems.org.

SEA TO SEA

A section of the 1.25-mile-long rainbow Pride flag unfurled on Key West’s Duval Street in 2003 was featured March 5 in Australia’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Sydney held one of the earlier LGBT Pride events on the 2016 calendar. Wisconsin’s Pride celebrations take place in the summer, beginning with Milwaukee PrideFest June 10-12.

A section of the 1.25-mile-long rainbow Pride flag unfurled on Key West’s Duval Street in 2003 was featured March 5 in Australia’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
A section of the 1.25-mile-long rainbow Pride flag unfurled on Key West’s Duval Street in 2003 was featured March 5 in Australia’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Federal complaint filed over Wisconsin voter ID law

Voter rights advocates, in a federal complaint, allege serious flaws at the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles in the process for providing the photo IDs needed to vote in the state.

As part of the voter ID law signed by Gov. Scott Walker, people are supposed to be able to request a free photo card from the DMV under certain circumstances. However, according to One Wisconsin Institute, bureaucratic delays and improper denials are preventing people from obtaining the IDs they need to vote.

“There has been a comprehensive, systematic effort in Wisconsin to make voting harder and more complicated for targeted populations by Republican politicians attempting to gain an unfair partisan advantage,” Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Institute executive director, said in a news release. “The documented failures of the DMV to provide legal voters with the ID they now need to exercise their right to vote is yet another sad episode in the assault on democracy underway in Wisconsin.”

The complaint, filed in federal court in Madison, outlines more than a dozen policies making voting in Wisconsin more challenging for eligible citizens. The lawsuit seeks to strike down various restrictive voting measures put in place by  Walker and the Republican State Legislature since 2011.

The complaint notes the state supreme court has held that the DMV had to exercise its discretion under the “extraordinary proof” petition process to permit voters to obtain exemptions for having to pay for birth certificates or other government records needed to obtain voter ID.

However, an internal DMV analysis found an error rate of 27 percent, meaning more than one in four petitions to obtain a voter ID under the “extraordinary proof” process were mishandled between March and August of 2015. The agency admitted numerous instances of petitions being suspended because a person gave up in anger or frustration, according to OWI.

Now, with the spring primary to be held in a month and the general election set for November, the DMV is expecting increased demand for voter IDs. Yet the agency is reporting a backlog of dozens of “open” petitions, has cut back on staff and has no extra staff or budget allocated to deal with the expected increased demand, according to OWI.

The complaint includes examples of how the DMV process is broken:

• Refusing to provide an ID to a woman who had lost the use of her hands and couldn’t sign an application. The woman brought her daughter with her to sign the application and even provided her daughter with power of attorney giving her permission to sign, but the DMV did not allow it.

• Denying the petitions of many eligible voters because of minor discrepancies in the spelling of their names or uncertainties about their exact dates of birth—even though DMV acknowledges it has no doubts these disenfranchised voters are U.S. citizens.

• “Turning away” a senior citizen who had been ‘born in a concentration camp in Germany,’ and his German birth certificate had been lost in a fire. That citizen was ultimately granted an ID, but only after extraordinary effort on his behalf to comply with absurd demands by the DMV.

Ross, in the news release, said, “When the DMV erroneously denies someone an ID or their incompetence and bureaucratic delays result in a person giving up in anger or frustration, they are denying a legal voter their right to vote. And that is unacceptable.”