Tale of Two Towns


Election districts 4, 8, and 9 in blue

In the Town of Dryden, Sumner, Lavine and Solomon were elected by a progressive, anti-fracking machine in the south-west corner of Dryden.  There, in election districts 4, 8 and 9, which are closest to Cornell and Ithaca, the Dems polled at a rate of 4 or 5 to 1, giving the Dems a roughly 60%/40% overall win over their Republican rivals.  

In the rest of the town (unshaded at right), the difference between the supervisor candidates was just 3 votes, Republicans Jim Drew and Deb Shigley outpaced the strident anti-fracking candidate, Linda Lavine, and Solomon's margin was just 9 votes.

Ironically, the blue districts of the town are those less likely to be of interest to the gas industry because of dense development, surface topology, stream setbacks and underground geology.

Going forward, we'll keep and eye on how the FUD (fear, uncertantity, doubt) campaign plays against accumulating, actual drilling experience.  And we'll watch how the new board deals with ongoing fiscal issues.  Will the blue machine hang together? Stay tuned.

Pajamas Media: "Obama Executive Order Intends to Implement Portions of DISCLOSE Act"

In a column this morning by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission:

An impeccable source has provided me with a copy of a draft Executive Order that the White House is apparently circulating for comments from several government agencies. Titled “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” it appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to implement — by executive fiat — portions of the DISCLOSE Act.

This was the bill introduced last year by Sen. Chuck Schumer [emphasis mine] and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The bill had onerous requirements that were duplicative of existing law and burdensome to political speech. It never passed Congress because of principled opposition to its unfair, one-side requirements that benefited labor unions at the expense of corporations. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission then tried to implement portions of the bill in new regulations.  Fortunately, those regulations were not adopted because of the united opposition of the Republican commissioners.

As my source says:

It really is amazing — they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.

[....] this will require companies to delve into the personal political activities of their officers and directors — and require them to report political contributions those employees have made, not out of corporate funds (which is illegal), but out of their personal funds.

And note that these disclosure requirements will only apply to companies that make bids on government contracts. Federal employee unions that negotiate contracts for their members worth many times the value of some government contracts are not affected by this order. Neither are the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants.

[....] This administration completely mischaracterized the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United,especially when President Obama attacked the Court in his State of the Union speech. It misrepresented the intended effects and requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, which former FEC Chairman Brad Smith correctly observed should really have been called the “Democratic Incumbents Seeking to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections Now” Act....

There's more—read the whole thing. For related posts at One of Nine, see here, here, and here.

Prosser ahead in Wisconsin Supreme Court race


See Village Squared (under "Forums"—"Lessons of Wisconsin Supreme Court Election") for the lead-up to this bit of possible schadenfreude.  From the Milwaukee JSO:

In a political bombshell, the clerk in a Republican stronghold released new vote totals adding a net total of 7,582 new votes in the tight state Supreme Court race to Justice David Prosser, swinging the race significantly in his favor.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save in her computer and consequently report 14,315 votes cast in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday's election. The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser from Brookfield and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg, she said. Smaller discrepancies turned up in two other communities as well.

"I'm thankful that this error was caught early in the process. This is not a case of extra ballots being found. This is human error which I apologize for, which is common," Nickolaus said, her voice wavering as she spoke to reporters.

She said she had reviewed numbers from all the other municipalities in the county to ensure that no other similar errors were made. She said she was not aware of any error of this size being made in any past election in her county.

The fresh numbers provide a new tilt to a race that had appeared to be headed toward the first statewide recount in two decades and as well spring a new surprise on a state that had already faced two months of chaotic politics...

Read the rest and stay tuned.

Pass the popcorn

If you've never seen any of Annie Leonard's videos such as The Story of Stuff, you should probably watch one for some context.  Her nemesis, Lee Doren of How the World Works, has produced a critique of her latest rant, The Story of Citizens United v. FEC; it's relevant to Tom's post, below.

Lee's video (via Legal Insurrection) is longish but well worth the time—grab a cup of coffee (or some popcorn):

Village Squared, and some nuggets from the "Tompkins County Election Worker News"

I know, I know—the newsletter sounds like a snoozer.  It's not, really.  Two things:

95 Years of Election Results Online

We [the Tompkins County Board of Elections] recently completed a major project to compile, digitize, and make available Tompkins County Election Results dating back to 1915. Many staff members and interns took part in the various steps to make this possible. Decades of results handwritten in old ledger books had to be entered into an Excel database, proofed, then turned into a format that could be viewed online, and uploaded. As far as we know, we're one of the few, or perhaps only county in the US to have such detailed information online. Check it out on our website, www.votetompkins.com.

Might be useful for students, or maybe there's something there for real writers (certainly not yours truly) to draw on for a historical novel or a nonfiction book.  Or it might just be fun for local history/local politics junkies.  If anybody discovers something interesting, please share.



March 15: Village Elections in Cayuga Heights, Dryden, Groton and Trumansburg. Polls open noon to 9 p.m.

April 26: Lansing Village Election. Polls open noon to 9 p.m.

Sept.13: Primary Election. Polls open noon to 9 p.m.

November 8: General Election Polls open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

This a big “local” year. Although there are no State or Federal offices on the ballot, there are almost fifty offices across the County up for election. See votetompkins.com for a complete list.

The complete Election Workers newsletter may be found here

And even though there are no federal, state, or even Tompkins County offices up this year (all the offices on the ballots are either village or town), 2011 is important locally and 2012 elections are right around the corner.  Go to VillageSquared, sign up, and also become a member of one or more of the "Groups" that appear on the right-hand side of the page. So far, there are groups for folks represented by Lifton, O'Mara, Nozzolio, Seward, Hinchey, and Hanna, as well as a Village of Dryden group and a Town of Ulysses/Village of Trumansburg group.  We're going to want to hit the ground running, so go sign up toot sweet.

Subscribe to elections