Liberal Lawyers Throw Out Ballots of Cloistered Nuns in Hotly-Contested WI Judge Recount

[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 lengthsincluding 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…



  • Davide

    Gotta watch them cloister nuns, mischievous rebels. American politics—> silliness & stupidity!!! Liberal lawyers—> moronic!!!

  • Whitney

    What is more disturbing to me is that 4 nuns apparently voted for the radical pro-abort Kloppenburg. Maybe it’s time to do a little questioning and root out some of the Catholyc nuns that have taken up residence at Valley of our Lady. They have no place as representatives of the Catholic faith.

    • Marcia

      I agree totally with Whitney. I am astounded that 4 cloistered nuns would vote for the pro-abirt candidate!

      • Phil

        Is it possible that the nuns evaluated the situation and came to the conclusion that there was no chance that their vote in this election would affect whether abortion is legal or not, and therefore they considered other factors?

        Do Catholics have any right to think for themselves when it comes to local politics? (I’m not asking if Catholics have a right to form their own opinion about the morality of abortion–I think we can all agree that Catholics are obligated to believe the Church’s teaching there.) But do individual Catholics have a right to come to their own conclusions about which candidate is the most moral choice?

        • Justin

          Abortion trumps everything else. You cannot vote for someone who supports an intrinsic evil, case closed.

          • Phil

            It sounds like you are saying that the answer to the question, “Do individual Catholics have a right to come to their own conclusions about which candidate is the most moral choice?” is _no_, individual Catholics do not have that right. Is that accurate?

  • Walter

    Damn those liberal lawyers for enforcing the law on God’s servants. Members of the Catholic clergy follow God’s law, not man’s – who are these liberal bigots to say that they filled out the ballots incorrectly? The sisters are beyond reproach, they could have filled out the ballot in purple crayon in a different language and it should have been accepted.

    • Bruce

      This contradicts 2000 years of Catholic teaching.

    • Matt B

      Imagine zealous left-wing lawyers, working to deny poor people their voting rights. It’s unheard of! I guess this proves that ACLU-types are more interested in results than in principles. (As if that’s a surprise.)

      • Matt B

        And poor women to boot. Bring in the New Black Panthers next. Ironic.

  • Kevin

    We cannot choose to have laws enforced when they favor us and beg for exceptions when they do not. If witnesses are legally required then they should have been provided for. This one person, the town clerk, does not have the authority to override law. I am sorry we cannot play “but they are nuns” if we expect to not have to live within the legal authority of governance of man. Our own Church teaches that it is proper and right to live in cooperation with governance. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 2. Particularly those paragraphs oriented towards Authority: 1897-1904.

    It is unfortunate that they were misled to believe that what they were doing was acceptable but they have a responsibility to ensure that they abide by the laws if they wish to take part in them.

    • Fr Pete

      You are correct we cannot have selective enforcement. The article pointed out that generally ballots are not discounted for lack of witness signature. The fact is they should be required to go back and delete every absentee ballot than does not have the witness signature not just the one’s of these sisters. If the nun’s ballots don;t count and this is a stricter enforcement than normally done than a grave injustice is being done. Teh corruption of the Board must be corrected. The Board needs to correct the injustice now being done.

  • Freida

    I suspect those liberals are trying to get us back for denying marriage to gay and lesbian Americans. Umph.

    • Bruce

      Can I deny a two-year-old a pilot’s license?

      • fran

        your analogy doesn’t make sense. can you deny gays and lesbians a pilot’s license? no. Can you deny them a marriage license? no. The world is waking up to this discrimination. get ready for it.

        • greg smith

          Well..some … gay and lesbians. I have a lesbian friend who can’t drive worth a darn. She wonders why I make the sign of the cross when we get to our destination.

        • Bruce

          Actually, it makes perfect sense. A two-year old cannot be denied a pilots license, because he or she cannot obtain one to begin with. A two-year old does not qualify. The same goes for marriage and homosexuals. Homosexuals cannot marry because they cannot enter into one. A marriage is a comprehensive union of man and woman – bodily (due to their complementarity) and spiritually – which is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation of children. Homosexuals cannot unite bodily in an act ordered toward procreation, so all they have is friendship. A friendship is not a marriage because there is no comprehensive union. It is not discrimination, but mere fact.

          • GREG SMITH

            Dear Bruce ~ married, partnered, civil unioned or single she scares the daylights out of me when she gets behind the wheel. Nice lady, good friend, she’s still unsafe at any speed ~ Regards, Greg

  • MRC

    Please, show and disclose the new May Feelings IV at



Receive our updates via email.