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? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

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? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Big_Sister » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:23 pm

An interesting question put to me by an 81 year old extended family member, a Milwaukee native who has lived most of his adult life in other, adjacent states, regarding the impending recall petition drive:

Will the names of recall petition signers be public information? Can my neighbor/boss/banker/doctor/friend/enemy find out whether or not I sign a recall petition?

I know that whether or not I vote in any particular election IS public information, at least in Dane County, but, of course, who/what I vote for is not - the principle of the secret BALLOT (presumably) being sacrosanct.

So, what ABOUT petition signing in this impending Walker recall situation?

I ask here because not only I think I'll get an answer faster here than wandering around online, I think the question is interesting for all of us Wisconsinites.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby SimonBonadventure » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:33 pm

The signatures are public information.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Michael Patrick » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:15 pm

The petitions are public, and .pdf copies of them are available on the GAB website for anyone to peruse.

But....

There's no way to search within them. They are just photocopies, with no character recognition applied. A person would have to look at each page to try to find your name. Just as an example, for the recall of Sen. Cowles, there were 26,000 signatures filed, covering approx. 4,026 pages.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby rabble » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:27 pm

But since anyone could put together a data entry crew and put those names and addresses into their own database, and since this recall election has no limit on donations, I would not be surprised to find that those names do end up in a searchable database somewhere.

That's what we were doing as volunteers in the last recall. We put together a searchable list of names and addresses for the validation team.

So if signing that petition could be harmful to your well being if it were found out, I don't know.

If I was on the edge of poverty with kids and afraid I'd lose my job for it, I'd think twice.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:28 pm

But would an employer actually tell the employee why they're fired? I've come to the conclusion things can be easily made up just to suit the employer as an excuse. I mean my name is on the bunch of petitions but my employer would never state that as a reason to fire me. Just like age discrimination is against the law but it is very hard to prove. Also, imagine the backlash if signing a recall petition was cause given.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby rabble » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:18 pm

Bwis53 wrote:But would an employer actually tell the employee why they're fired? I've come to the conclusion things can be easily made up just to suit the employer as an excuse. I mean my name is on the bunch of petitions but my employer would never state that as a reason to fire me. Just like age discrimination is against the law but it is very hard to prove. Also, imagine the backlash if signing a recall petition was cause given.

Oh no, they'd never SAY that's why you're fired. All they'd have to do is make it known that they're Walker supporters and that Walker's the reason they have enough money to keep paying your paycheck, and anybody who'd sign a Walker recall must not want us to have enough money to pay you.

"YOU wouldn't sign that recall petition would you? Cause that would make it hard for me to afford paying your wages. Not that I'd ever fire anybody for that."

Have fun proving I laid you off because of that petition. Hell, take it to the State Supreme Court if you want.

I went through dozens of employers before I found this job and there's maybe three of 'em who I would NOT expect to act that way. They're all assholes and they all put money over their help.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:25 pm

Puts another spin on "the help"...
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Madsci » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:37 pm

rabble wrote:If I was on the edge of poverty with kids and afraid I'd lose my job for it, I'd think twice.


Let's not make people paranoid to sign the recall petition, okay?

I can say this as someone who lost a job as a single parent because I would not "pleasure" my boss. And yes this put me into poverty. But sometimes you have to do the right thing. I have no regrets and can hold my head high.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby rabble » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:15 pm

Madsci wrote:
rabble wrote:If I was on the edge of poverty with kids and afraid I'd lose my job for it, I'd think twice.


Let's not make people paranoid to sign the recall petition, okay?

I can say this as someone who lost a job as a single parent because I would not "pleasure" my boss. And yes this put me into poverty. But sometimes you have to do the right thing. I have no regrets and can hold my head high.

You got the right stuff. I hope you're better off now.

I hope the folks who have valid reasons to feel that it's a risk are half as brave as you.

I also think I'd LOVE to see a database of Wisconsin employers who are actually talking that way. Back when I had to worry about it, there was no way to publicly shame them like there is now. And I think they still think they can get away with it anyway.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby snoqueen » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:41 pm

This really is democracy on the skids.

The recall organization needs to make arrangements with some public interest law firms and get statewide publicity about this entire issue. Just "tell us you're intimidated to sign, and we will blow the story up statewide and let everybody know what assholes your employers are."

Secrecy is the opposite side of the intimidation coin, and the entire issue has to be brought into the light and made part of the recall effort. Anything that remains of workers' rights in Wisconsin has to be brought to bear to pre-emptively protect petitioners. If that's not a Bill of Rights issue I don't know what is:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Having seen what a hash people make of the Standing Militia amendment I hate to anticipate the fight over petitioning the government, which will be backed by even more money than the NRA commands. Still, it's a worthwhile fight and it's got to begin someplace.

Wisconsin's own constitution similarly says:

SECTION 4. The right of
the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common
good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof,
shall never be abridged.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby gozer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:43 am

people who may be tempted to misuse ballot petitions should be forewarned that many of the more sophisticated campaigns will have signers who may not otherwise appear connected but will will readily report anything to the candidate or her or his committee and it is very easy to establish patterns as these calls start rolling in. I believe the technical term for it is a zinger.

if they detect something, it is unlikely they will handle it themselves from end to end, like sending someone over to threaten to burn down someone's house over it because they have an entrance to try to get the state's attorney to do something, whether or not they should. after those god-awful years with brain blanchard and stevie nicks, under no circumstances would i in any way support the candidature of anyone who would allow their office to be used as a weapon like that.

if i am not mistaken, using campaign finance reports (they have zingers in them too) and/or nominating petitions for fund raising is not 100 per cent legal. certainly vandalism and worse is not legal. even giving someone shit about, such as an employee sounds to me in that case like wanting to get someone to omit to do something perfectly legal, which is essentially extortion. do it a certain number of times within a defined period and there is the possibility of civil liability as well as a nocturne making car tags or little rocks into big ones. that's not the first-amendment hungry six-legged octopus of campaign-finance law...they bring in the cops on that one.

but hopefully those wanting to make trouble for people are unsophisticated enough to try it anyways. i do know the republicans as a group get the old proverb "lies grow on what's forgotten, motherfucker." a bit more than their average potential constituent, which doesn't say all that much.

tm2g&fuiudnli
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby SimonBonadventure » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:32 am

Hey guys you all need to chill. You are being totally paranoid.

I seriously doubt that employers are going to take the time and expense to search the recall signatures so they can fire employees.
Plus, some employers may support the recall. Not all employers are Republican extremists you know.

Why would an employer cut their nose off to spite their face by firing good employees who they need to run a successful profitable business.

Let's focus who issues and concerns that are real not paranoid nonsense.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby rabble » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:44 am

Isolated incident, nothing to worry about, just one bad apple in a barrel of good ones.

Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Ala., who on Sept. 9 was fired from her job at Enviromate, a company that makes housing insulation, for driving to work with a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker in the rear windshield of her Chevy Lumina. The person who did the firing was Phil Geddes, who owns the company and is an enthusiastic Bush supporter.


That couldn't happen here. No way. Paranoia. Just paranoia.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby Peanutbutter » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:10 am

We've all seen how the unions threaten boycotts and violence against businesses that don't hang Anti-Walker signs in their windows. Can't help but wonder what the union bosses will have done their own members whose names don't appear on a petition to recall the governor.
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Re: ? recall petition sigs-public info or secret ballot?

Postby SimonBonadventure » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:22 am

rabble wrote:Isolated incident, nothing to worry about, just one bad apple in a barrel of good ones.

Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Ala., who on Sept. 9 was fired from her job at Enviromate, a company that makes housing insulation, for driving to work with a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker in the rear windshield of her Chevy Lumina. The person who did the firing was Phil Geddes, who owns the company and is an enthusiastic Bush supporter.


That couldn't happen here. No way. Paranoia. Just paranoia.


That's right. It is an isolated incident that happened in Alabama and we also must assume that this article reported the full story with all the facts.

Listen, if you want to live your life in a constant state of paranoia be my guest, but that's not the way I roll.
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