Posted: December 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

Sandy Welch, and the Ruse

The GOP is asking for a recount in the state superintendent’s race, for what appears to be part of a high-intensity push to create a climate for passing voter suppression laws in Montana.

The Associated Press reported this week that the national Republican Party gave Sandy Welch (who ran against popular dem Denise Juneau) $100,000 to pay for the recount and another $100,000 to hire GOP lawyer behind Citizens United, James Bopp to sue for a recount (one she can’t win).

Bopp is an infamous national GOP lawyer who has been called “Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections,” and has worked for dozens of extreme-right groups.  He appeared on the recent Frontline expose of dark money groups in Montana, saying he is working to eliminate or significantly loosen campaign spending limits and to eliminate donor-name-reporting requirements.

Here’s what’s odd: Welch can get a recount without her costly lawsuit, for a $100,000.  She is allowed by law to buy a recount, in essence.   But she admitted yesterday that she’s now invested $200,000, half on the fancy lawyer and lawsuit, and half on the recount cost.   In the lawsuit, she is asking to get her recount cost refunded if she wins. But that still leaves a grand total investment of $100,000.  So why the lawsuit?

Because the GOP wants it in the air, while they try to pass new laws that restrict voting rights, like same day registration, early voting, mail voting, etc

The GOP’s future, given the trends, is looking bleak.  Not just a more liberal electorate, but a wild gang of libertarian voters defecting at a rate of anywhere from 4 to 7 percent in statewide elections.   The Rs are now seeing that they must find a way to balance the scale.  So they will try to minimize votes from elderly, Indians, poor, young and other voting blocks.

To do that, they’ll need to convince the legislature that there were “irregularities.”  Part of this will involve deceiving the press and the public that the last election was fraught with problems and “fraud.” Hence the $100,000 lawyer.

As the Billings Gazette reports, Welch already alleges

numerous examples of alleged vote-counting errors across the state on Nov. 6, including ballots jamming in electronic counting machines, re-marking of ballots that were run through the machines multiple times, failure to give voters new ballots to replace spoiled ballots, and ballots that weren’t officially stamped.

The recount will allow the GOP to paw through every single ballot cast, to find examples of what they’ll call “fraud.”

Perhaps the Montana GOP is taking a cue from Florida Republicans, who admitted last week that the voting restrictions they passed after the 2008 elections were specifically designed to keep Democratic turnout low:

Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal[....]

Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.

[...]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.

 

51 comments

  1. James Conner

    The complaint that Welch submitted to the court is online, Thanks to the Daily InterLake, at:

    http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/politics_government/pdf_9185b45a-3e4e-11e2-a39f-001a4bcf887a.html

    It alleges numerous irregularities, many that strike me as stupid but trivial. But it sets up as villains not voters but Montana’s county clerk and recorders. And the likelihood that sum of the alleged sins will flip the election is on the order of winning the Irish Sweepstakes.

  2. Gabby Johnson

    The was a poll of Republicans the other day and about half said Romney really won because ACORN (which hasn’t existed for two years) corrupted the election results.
    It’s all part of the GOP fantasyland, a belief system that has totally lost touch with reality.

  3. Doug

    When half your base are utter morons, I guess you feel your only options are lies and deception? This ACORN myth is an embarassment. The organization is defunct and has been for years.

  4. Dan T.

    Montana’s have already rejected voter suppression tactics like voter ID, repealing same day registration, and repealing vote by mail options. We don’t need a high priced snake oil show to convince us we’re wrong. The reason Montana is being targeted is because of our small population- we are a cheap buy for the corporate thugs and the RNC.

  5. Craig Moore

    First, the hyperlink is to the Great Falls Tribune, not the Billings paper.

    Second, there was this in the linked article:

    Richie said voting machine errors typically don’t discriminate between candidates, meaning any votes Welch might have lost would have been cancelled out by lost votes for Juneau.

    He added that regardless of the outcome, the recount could serve a public service, by either confirming the integrity of Montana’s election system or revealing its flaws.

    However, it turns out, the confirmation or revelation is a good thing. All the fuss, suspicions, and fury expressed here over a recount, where both sides will have their watchers, seems silly where the challenging party is picking up the cost. Only if Welch wins, highly unlikely, would there be a question of who pays the cost. Just curious, who here has doubts over computerized voting machine results with all of the reports across the country of their mistakes?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      RightO! What the heck’s wrong with a little excellence?! She’s excellent! Ms. Sarah Palin Welch is excellent! And she just wants that excremence to rub off on the REST of us!

      Well, I call that being an arrogant ASS! As are all Pubbies!

      There is NOTHING wrong witht the education system in Montana, and ONLY a complete, arrogant horse’s ass would STROLL on in here promising to make the system even MORE excellent! EXCEMENT! I mean, just how in the hell does she propose to DO that?

      I for one and sick and tired of all the education bashers out there. And that’s all the Pubbies like this arrogant woman are! To come to Montana and IMMEDIATELY begin to denigrate our educational system is to DEMEAN all the hardworking folks IN they system that have given their all for our kids! For the bottom line is that our FOLKS IS THE SYSTEM are doing a great job, and if there ARE improvements to be made, they’ll do it! There the one’s that KNOW what needs to be done!

      What we DON’T need are self-proclaimed saviours of DUBIOUS qualities, credentials, and talents farting off at the mouth about how THEY and THEY alone have the secret sauce to make things better! They don’t! All they have is flatualence in ABUNDANT supply which they LIBERALLY shower upon the rest of us!

      Hell, now even an idiot like lew jones is an expert on education! His recent ed in the GF Spitoon was classic flatulence. Lew OBVIOUSLY needs to take a few writing classes beFORE he attempts to say how to improve education!

      Education is simply another wedgie for the Pubbies. It’s an easy target for morons. And people really need to tell these Pubbies to take a hike on public ed! We like it, it does a good job, so leave it the hell alone! STICK your excellence where it OBVIOUSLY originated, in the nether regions of your southern regions, anatomically speaking! Excellence, excremense, it’s ALL the same to the Pubbies!

  6. Havre Voter

    Dear Sandy Welch, How does it feel to be a pawn in a scheme to suppress the voice of minorities, students, and seniors? You do realize that the repub bosses are lying when they tell you try think you can win right? Time to wake up and get out of this before you become the national poster child for blocking citizens from exercising their rights to vote.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      HAVRE, if you believe all the Bushshit spouted by the Pubbies, she can do no wrong!

      “By implementing school accountability measures, empowering families with educational flexibility, giving schools and districts the ability to innovate based on student outcomes and working with teachers to improve classroom effectiveness, Montana’s education system could become one of the best in the nation”

      Jebby boy bush!

      Now THAT’S some quality Bushshit! Means nothing, sounds great! But that’s all the Pubes HAVE is Bushshit! We can do better because we already are!

    • Susan Curtis

      Out of one side of her mouth, she tells us she’s a teacher who’s trying to claim she cares about the future of young people, but out of the other side, she’s trying to help take away their access to voting. Got it.

  7. Greg D.

    The Republicans have a real problem — they are losing ground with women, young people, and minorities at an alarming rate. You can’t appeal to new generations with a message of keeping things the same for time and all eternity. It’s just not happening. You can’t appeal to women voters when you only appoint women leaders in obvious tokenism. This party is dying out. They can’t compromise on anything or their own base revolts against them.

  8. J.K.

    Time for Welch to move on and let Montana ‘s education leader get back to doing what we electe her to do–continuing to make Montana a great place to go to school.

  9. Craig Moore

    I wish it were only about education. However, it’s about the Land Board position as well: http://helenair.com/news/local/state-and-regional/milk-river-ranch-decision-comes-before-land-board/article_7136ba68-314d-11e2-a3b9-0019bb2963f4.html

    Dave Skinner wrote a great piece of just how the Land Board seems to be fumbling the ball: http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/natures_bailout_revisited/30855/ Just how can Juneau claim victory for education over this financial fiasco?

  10. Donna

    I really SUCKS to be republican these days……The outcome is officially at 47% for Romney and 51.5% for Obama. That’s nearly a 5% swing. 5 million more voters voted for President Obama than voted for Romney. And, of course, 332 to 206 in the electoral college or 62% for Obama and only 38% for Romney, the biggest blowout in 25 years. This election marks the 5th time out of the last 6 Presidential election that the Republicans have lost the popular vote, and in historical perspective, it was a pummeling. The Republicans have only won the popular vote once in the past quarter century, and that was by the meager margin of 50.63%. republicans, keep telling yourseves what a wonderful job you did. We need you to carry that mind set forward, so that you do the same things in the next election.

    Ms. Welch and her wing nuts and teabagger friends can stay up for the next 100 days trying to count votes…SHE STILL LOST!!!

  11. David

    Even some election judges will tell you there were problems. When ballots are not marked correctly, you just get a new ballot. In some cases the judges would just put a sticker over the mistake and not give voters a new ballot. In one county they ran out of ballots and had to photocopy ballots. Those photocopies, don’t have stubs or numbers. Welsh won’t win her re-count, but that doesn’t mean there were not problems, with this year’s election. If the vote totals change does that mean every vote didn’t count.

    • James Conner

      I agree there were problems. Furthermore, there are always problems: machines breaking down, human error, and so forth. From what I’ve seen in Montana, these problems are almost always resolved, sometimes inelegantly, without affecting the tally of votes or the outcome of the election.

      Two of Welch’s allegations merit further study. In Missoula, she claims that the number of votes recorded exceeded, by several hundred, the number of ballots cast. She asserts this is because ballots partially read before being rejected by the counting machines were then successfully run through the machines, thereby double counting the votes. I have no idea whether that’s true, but I do know it bears investigation. Optical scan vote counting machines should not work that way.

      In Lewis and Clark County, she claims that upon discovering a programming error that resulted in wrong vote tallies (we don’t know how the error was discovered), election officials conducted a rump hand recount to make sure they got it right. No evil intent, but unprofessional behavior. That programming error may be the systemic error alleged by Welch.

      The remedy for all of these problems is not making voting harder. It’s professionalizing elections administration; taking it out of the hands of elected partisans who seldom are certified experts in professional elections administration. Welch may not realize it, but she’s embarked on an adventure that may produce a compelling argument for eliminating the county clerk and recorder system as we now know it.

  12. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    A very, very good read by a conservative who saw it all go wrong! I don’t usually recommend conservative horseshit, but this is NOT horseshit, but rather a simple stating of the facts. And THAT is what’s wrong with the rightwing wackjobs that control the Pubbie party now. They IGNORE facts and reality! And that is precisely why they must be removed from power of any kind! Hell, we’ve got a new Lege comin’ in that’s as crazyass nazi as it gets! Everyone should understand that they’re nuts, and the even former allies are calling them out!

    Enjoy.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revenge-of-the-reality-based-community/

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        James, in today’s GF Spitoon there’s an article on NEMO Arms, which is apparently the arms company that Sonju owns, lil’ Mermaid Munchkin Man’s running mate as Lt. Gov. In the article, one of the company owners mentions that MANY of their customers are folks buying assualt rifles for fear of a coming breakdown in society! WHAT sort of asshole mentions this?

        These nuckers are FUTZ! SO, we’ve got a guy who NEARLY made it as Lt. Guv making arms for a coming revolution!

        Yes, these nucker are futz! And inbred idiots! Insanity must NOT be allowed to become normal. And where is our nutless press to call these morons out? They are aiding and abetting the insanity through their nutlessness! The newspapers in this state are NOT part of the reality based community any longer. And that’s real sad.

  13. JohnC

    I talked with a friend of mine yesterday who has been a lobbyist at the MT legislature for many years. He freely said that last time was the worst he’s ever seen, and expects less of the asylum to be assembled in January.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Buh BYE, Big Kockhs! Sheesh. Them Big Kochks are gettin’ damn TIRED of gettin’ their asses kicked in Montana! I mean, how cheap can they get?! These two dudes are sittin’ on FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS, and they can’t afford a measely one hundred and fifteen thousand for a possible seat on the Land Board?!! How tight can ya get?!

      They didn’t get Dopey Reeburp. They lost Mermaid Munchkin Man. And now, NOW, Sarah Palin Welch won’t even get a second shot at the LAND Board! It’s gettin’ so a billionaire can’t even BUY a frickin’ election in Montana any more! And that’s downright UnAmerican!

      Guess they’ll just have to take their chances with the goofballs in the Lege, and hell, that just might be enough! (except of course for Bullock. I HOPE he’s got the narlies Schweitzer had! We’ll see.)

      Time to paint that Big Red X right through Montana again! We’re still IMMUNE from a Big Kockh!

    • Jennifer Davies

      There’s a shocker. I was highly skeptical when Welch claimed the Republican National Committee was going to give this woman $100,000 for a recount that would not change the election results.

      Congratulations Denise Juneau!

    • James Conner

      The GOP has plenty of donors for which $115k is chump change. But most such donors are not chumps. They won’t donate a cent if they believe the project has no reasonable chance of succeeding. That’s what happened here. They made a reality based decision. Welch didn’t get robbed. She got educated.