Wisconsin’s screwed-up primaries

But the incumbents like it just fine, thank you…

By Jack E. Lohman

So here we have it. Some really smart politicians twisted the rules to make cross-party voting illegal. In the primary we must vote for candidates in one party or the other, but not a selection from both.

It’s a terrible idea. I prefer an open primary.

I’d like to vote for the least-worst candidate in both the Senate and House races. But if one is a Republican and the other a Democrat, the rules say I can’t do that. That essentially robs me of my right to vote in one of the races. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Yes, I can see that someone might cross-vote to elevate only the worst candidates in the opposing party, but that will be offset by the evil-doers on the opposing side. That is even possible with the current rules, but it is not justification for restrictions on voting or warping the system. It looks to be just more incumbent protection.

In 2008 I least-wanted to see Hillary Clinton as president, so I voted for Obama in the primary (now regrettably). But I also wanted to vote for Jim Burkee over Jim Sensenbrenner, knowing he was the better candidate. But Obama was a Democrat and he was a Republican and I couldn’t do that.

Burkee got only 20% of the Republican votes as a result of a lot of Republicans voting for Obama, and I’m sure F. Jim liked that just fine. Burkee could have won otherwise.

One thing that would satisfy both sides of the argument is Instant Runoff Voting for all offices. That would allow every voter to vote for three or more candidates, ranked by order of choice. If their first choice fails to win, their vote is transferred to their second choice, and so forth until one candidate gets 50%+1 vote. And it’s all computerized and automated, so it happens instantaneously.

Too simple for politicians to understand? No, it’s too fair because it would level the playing field for even third-parties, and fair is the last thing politicians want. But this year it may indeed be critical with all of the anti-incumbent rhetoric.

This is a clear “party control” thingy, all when the parties themselves are corrupt as hell and should be eliminated rather than coddled. I can only hope for another lawsuit or prosecution for the conspiracy it is.

So, now I’m inclined to vote for the most-worst party candidate in the primary and an independent in the November election. These are the games we have to play to outsmart the incumbents.

6 Responses to Wisconsin’s screwed-up primaries

  1. Personally, I would prefer a voting process where people could only vote for candidates they support. That’s how the process is supposed to work.

  2. So you want to get into the heads of the voters? Why not support Instant Runoff Voting? If you studied it you’ll find little or no objection to it. It is extremely fair to the voters. (click on the link above).

  3. Publius says:

    Personally, I’d like to see Jack get his facts straight.

    You see, Jack, you could have voted for both Barack Obama and Jim Burkee in 2008, just not on the same day. Wisconsin’s presidential preference election was in February, 2008, while Wisconsin’s partisan primary is in September.

    NEVER was Obama ever on the same ballot as Burkee so the story you recount above makes no sense.

    At best, your memory is faulty, and at worst, you fabricated a story to make a point.

  4. Publius, to the best of my knowledge we had only one primary in 2008. Clinton vs Obama and Burkee vs Sensenbrenner on the same ballot. My ballot was rejected by the machine and the voting clerk said it was because I had cross-voted for Obama and Burkee, and that by marking the ballot straight party I’d correct my vote.

    Now indeed my memory may be faulty (at 72 it often is) and the above scenario did not occur, but to the best of my recollection my facts are straight. If anybody has different info please hop into the discussion.

  5. Publius says:

    Here’s the link to the 2008 Fall Partisan Primary results at the GAB. You’ll notice that there are no results listed for president.


    And here’s the link for the presidential preference from February 2008. You’ll notice that there are no results listed for the candidates running in the 5th Congressional District.


    While I don’t think this blows a hole in your argument, I do think you should stop using this story.

    A better example would be the 2002 primary when voters in the 5th State Senate District had to either choose to vote Republican (Rozenzweig vs. Reynolds) or Democrat (Doyle, Barrett, Falk). Many people still think that had there been cross-balloting, people who wanted to vote for Barrett could have still voted for Rozenzweig and she may have actually won.

  6. Okay, it took some time to get feedback on my question, but apparently Clinton and Obama were in an earlier primary in the spring and Jim Burkee’s was September 9.

    So I was incorrect, but the scenario could still play out. Voters CAN be prohibited from voting for their two favored candidates because of our screwy primaries, IF those two candidates are from different parties.

    And Publius, as a Republican state legislator, YOU can start the ball rolling to correct it. How about it?

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