[NB: I intend to write more about my experiences last weekend in Rome during the Beatification of John Paul II and my involvement in the Vatican Bloggers meeting, but in the meantime I wanted to share this story.]
The Wisconsin Judge race between Joanne Kloppenburg and David Prosser has been ground zero for contentious American politics over the last couple months, especially after Democrats made WI Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal a national issue. The ongoing fight spilled over into the pre-scheduled state-wide election of judge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
It’s no secret that David Prosser, the conservative judicial candidate, is going to win the recount (he already leads by several thousand votes), but lawyers for the liberal Joanne Kloppenburg are going to any lengths – including tossing out the sealed ballots of cloistered Catholics nuns – to carry the day for their boss:
In Sauk County, there’s a convent, Valley of our Lady Monastery that is inhabited by 18 Cistercian nuns. These nuns take a vow of silence, with their main occupation being the making the communion wafers. The majority of these nuns stay at the Monastery their entire life…living the simplest of simple lives.
Every election the Town of Sumpter Clerk, Donna Ziegler, drops off 18 ballots so the nuns can vote. She later picks them up, prior to the election in a single, large, sealed envelope—not opening the large envelope prior to the election.
This year, she opened the large enveloped and removed the ballots…counted them, and included them as part of the total 24 absentee ballots for the town.
Fast forward to the recount … last Friday it was discovered that the absentee ballots cast by the nuns didn’t include witness signatures…and no one noticed prior to the election. The Kloppenburg team argued that the ballots should be thrown out—never mind that the GAB has never enforced lack of witness signature as grounds for throwing out a ballot with any regularity—and was successful.
Yesterday, the canvas board reconsidered—bringing in the Town Clerk (Ziegler) to discuss the situation, and she very passionately objected to the dismissal—stating she knows these women, trusts them and has always handled the nun’s absentee ballots the same way. Again, the canvas board after a long and somewhat contentious conversation voted to reject the ballots—at the insistence of the Kloppenburg attorney.
The nuns apparently went for Prosser over Kloppenburg by a margin of 14-4.
I know recounts are normally brutally litigated – but really, going after the nuns?!
MAJOR Papist Hat/Tip to Matt at the Badger Catholic blog.
UPDATE: The Badger Catholic posts a response from the Kloppenburg campaign. They certainly didn’t intervene to allow the votes to be counted…