Government By the People. Let the People Decide.
Another item has been added to the list of ways the political machine in Wisconsin maintains control over which candidates voters are allowed to consider for elected office. A newly introduced bill, co-authored by Republicans Senator Van Wanggaard and Representative John Macco, is being referred to as the “sore losers’ law” because it would ban any candidate who loses a partisan primary from registering for the general election as a write-in.
Currently, Wisconsin law requires candidates to register as a write-in in order to have the votes that are cast for them counted. This law would bar them from doing so if they had run in a partisan primary and lost.
You may wonder (as you should) why lawmakers would think this legislation is worth pursuing. In seeking co-sponsors, the authors said, “A candidate should make a choice to run as a write-in candidate. It should not be allowed as a back-up plan for an unsuccessful bid for a party nomination.” A candidate’s campaign strategy is none of their business.
Grasping further at straws they suggested, “Elections should be orderly, efficient, equitable, and simple. Leaving the door open for unnecessary confusion risks compromising the integrity of our elections and the confidence of the electorate.” They cannot be serious. Voters who write in the name of a candidate know exactly what they are doing. They are not confused and, as for “integrity of our elections and the confidence of the electorate,” that ship has sailed. It’s manipulation like this that further erodes the trust of voters.
This scheme is an obvious response to a number of candidates recently running as write-ins after losing their primaries. One was running to unseat Speaker Robin Vos, which had to be particularly galling to him. It is yet another attempt by partisans to abuse the power that has been entrusted to them.
During my 2022 run for Governor of Wisconsin, I reported in detail on all of the barriers I encountered that are designed to maintain the stranglehold the parties, media, pollsters, and debate sponsors have on who the voters are allowed to evaluate. The media denies coverage to unknown, though highly qualified, candidates; the pollsters exclude candidates based on contrived rules; the debate sponsors implement polling and fundraising thresholds impossible to meet without party or big money backing. The parties tightly control who receives their favor and they put their thumb on the scales wherever possible. The level of corruption that already exists within our political system apparently doesn’t satisfy their lust for power and control. Legislators have concocted yet another hurdle for those who would like to run for elected office freely and fairly.
Our government was designed to be by the people. Let the people decide.