Here in Racine, we’re quite used to tough elections. Over the past 20 years, the 21st Senate District has been one of the most hard-fought districts in the entire state of Wisconsin.
That type of district brings with it rough-and-tumble campaigns, hard-edged tactics and tight margins. When it came to the June 5 recall election, it proved no different.
On election night, we were pleased to discover that our friend John Lehman was victorious over Van Wanggaard. The margin however was thin, and Wanggaard exercised his right to ask for a recount of the entire district, just as we had exercised our right to recall him.
But even before the recount started, Wanggaard and his friends began to speak of “irregularities” and “problems” in the City of Racine. Wanggaard and friends made loud claims of voter fraud, due to same-day registration, lack of voter identification, strange things in the trash and a host of other odd allegations. During the actual recount, hard-working volunteers and Racine County employees labored for countless hours to make sure that every vote was counted and the outcome was fair.Journal Times: Commentary: Wanggaard’s false accusations show true colors of Republicans
November may be months away but local Democrats aren’t wasting any time in their effort to re-elect President Barack Obama. Roughly 50 of the president’s supporters from around the area gathered at the kickoff Wednesday evening at the Racine County Democratic Party’s 2012 campaign headquarters, 606 Sixth St., to listen to a special call from first lady Michelle Obama, and learn about how they ensure Obama gains another term in office.
“You know there is a place on the other side of town run by some other people,” said Jane Witt, chairwoman of the Racine County Democratic Party, firing up the crowd. “It’s called the Victory something. We don’t have a gimmicky name for our place. But we have a lot of other things. We have you. You are the most intelligent, most professional, best looking, hardest working, most dedicated group of campaign workers in the whole state, maybe the whole country.”
Democrats will soon be opening a 2012 campaign office in Downtown Racine. The party’s Racine County campaign headquarters will be at 606 Sixth St., said Jane Witt, the Democratic Party of Racine County’s chairwoman. Organizers have already started to move supplies over to Sixth Street from the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave., where the recall headquarters were located. A date has not yet been set for the official grand opening, Witt said. That will be in the next few weeks. But an event will be held there Wednesday for supporters of President Barack Obama, who is up for re-election this fall. Obama for America is holding a “house party,” according to an email from the organization, which Witt verified.
There, organizers will be registering voters, and helping prepare volunteers for the process leading up to the November election. Also, according to their email, “You’ll get to join a special call with First Lady Michelle Obama to talk about the progress we’re fighting for and get fired up for the months ahead.”
That event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at 606 Sixth St.
I was disappointed to read in Monday's Journal Times that Sen. Van Wanggaard has chosen to avoid meeting his opponent in the upcoming Senate recall election. I recognize that an open forum can be a difficult setting for campaigning. It's hard to think quickly and articulate your points clearly when you're not sure what the question will be.
I was particularly looking forward to hearing my senator in person because I have not been successful in communicating with him in other ways. I went to his Ives Grove office hours many times and conversed with various pleasant assistants who took copious notes but I heard nothing in response from the senator. I then switched to using emails, but only once received anything other than the stock "Thank you for contacting my office ..." reply. I participated in his telephone "Town Hall Meeting," but the call screener who answered did not forward my question to the senator.
I would like to be confident that those who represent me in Madison are willing to answer my questions, listen fairly to my views and respond cogently. Every one of us deserves no less. We need representatives who are willing to meet with all segments of the public, and thus provide more openness in the political process; meeting the public in an open forum is one way to do that.
Melissa H. Warner
Three Racine women can now register voters in the Village of Caledonia, after two of them filed complaints with state’s Government Accountability Board regarding Village Clerk Karie Torkilsen's initial refusal to certify them as special registration deputies. The women, Jane Witt, Nikki Aiello and Kathleen Laru, were sworn in by Torkilsen on Friday morning.
Under state law, any voter can register fellow citizens to vote as long as they have been sworn in as a special registration deputy. To become a deputy residents must receive special training. Up until last year a citizen could receive that training through the GAB, which would then certify them to register voters throughout the state.
Witt and Laru filed complaints against Torkilsen after seeing a letter from the GAB that said an elector may file a complaint against a clerk who refuses to train them to be a deputy or appoint them to be a deputy. Journal Times: Following complaints, Racine women now deputized to register voters in Caledonia
, they were told they couldn't by Village Clerk Karie Torkilsen.
Now, two of those women have filed complaints with the Government Accountability Board and a third will likely be filed this week.
Over the past few months, Nikki Aiello; Jane Witt, chair for the Democratic Party of Racine County; and Kathleen Laru had already been certified and deputized to register voters in the City of Racine, and the village of Mt. Pleasant and Sturtevant. But on separate occasions, they each went to turn in their applications to Torkilsen, who allegedly refused to deputize them when they came into Caledonia Village Hall.
Witt said she requested to be sworn in early January.
“(Torkilsen) said, ‘I don’t want everyone registering people all over the place, I don’t have control over this process’ and she refused to swear me in,” Witt said. “I was floored." Mt. Pleasant Patch: Complaints Over Voter Registration Filed Against Caledonia Clerk
When three Racine women wanted to register voters in
As for who Wanggaard might face in his recall election, there isn't a list of names yet from Racine County Democrats.
"We don't have an official announcement yet," said Racine County Democratic Chair Jane Witt. "Once we have 15,000 accurate signatures verified by the GAB then we will make an announcement, but until we have official word that we're having an election, it's not time to start naming names."Caledonia Patch: State Sen. Van Wanggaard Responds to Recall Signatures
RACINE COUNTY — The Democratic Party of Racine County elected new leaders Monday, including a new chairperson.
The new chairwoman is Jane Witt, a retired Journal Times employee. Witt beat out Racine Alderman Eric Marcus for the chairperson position in a 167-4 vote of party members, according to Jeff Van Koningsveld, the chairman until Jan. 1 when Witt formally takes office.
Other newly elected leaders taking office Jan. 1 include:
• First Vice Chairwoman Julie Krautkramer, a teacher.
• Second Vice Chairman Jeff Coe, a former Racine alderman.
• Third Vice Chairwoman Beth Pramme, who ran Mayor John Dickert’s campaign.
• Secretary Diana Kovacs, a nursing student.
• and Treasurer Joe Cushing, who is retired, according to Van Koningsveld.
MADISON — After more than two months of petition gathering, Democrats turned in over one million signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker, and more than 24,000 to recall state Sen. Van Wanggaard, recall organizers announced Tuesday.