Voters should beware of political ads to determine the candidate that will get your vote.
Those ads are misleading, exaggerating half truths to discredit an opponent, or embellishing to paint a favorable image for their candidate. Spending on ads is measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is true for all elections, especially the current race between Gov. Scott Walker and challenger Mary Burke.
The mission of the column was to encourage voters to take time to seek the truth and facts before investing their most valuable possession as a citizen – the right to vote.
During research for the veracity of political ads and speeches in the Nov. 4 election, the Supreme Court, in unprecedented action, added another issue to this column.
Bert Besaw stopped at the End Stool last Thursday, en route to casting an absentee ballot at the Mukwa Town Hall, because he will be in Colorado on election day.
“I’ve got my ID,” he said. Besaw has no problem with the rule.
Tom King has a different opinion. “My mother is 95 and she does not have a photo ID,” King said. “She always votes,” usually absentee.
Hours after talking to Bert, the Supreme Court blocked the state from enforcing the voter identification law in the Nov. 4 election in response to a civil rights lawyers appeal that it would be chaos because of absentee ballots already mailed by municipal clerks.
The Wisconsin Legislature adopted the photo ID rule three years ago, but until last month the requirement had been stalled by state and federal judges on rulings and appeals.
The veracity of special interest ads fulfills the original mission of this column.
PolitiFact, a regular feature in the JournalSentinel, in association with a Florida newspaper, uses a Truth-O-Meter to rate political issues on believability: True, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false and pants on fire – the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.
I used its website politicfact.com/wisconsin/ researching this column.
Courting single issue voters leads to the most egregious ads and special interest groups are responsible for many of the worst. Politifact gave false and mostly false ratings to 13 of 20 third party ads. One ad drew a pants on fire because it was so absurd.
I abandoned the Burke and Walker web search after compiling statistics on 10 of 40 pages. There were 20 ratings on each screen, including 65 statements or ads of theirs in the 400 items viewed.
Using politicfact.com/wisconsin/ can ease doubts of what you hear or see in the media.
Truth-O-Meter was stuck on false for both candidates for governor over statements about $12.5 million of taxpayer money for a lot that’s still vacant over eight years after Burke closed the deal as commerce secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle.
Jobs is a trap politicians knowingly jump into with both feet as a campaign issues because it tops most polls along with the related issue of the economy.
The campaign promises always exceed reality, because government on its own cannot create private sector jobs. It can create public sector jobs, but not without increasing taxes or fees. The job market has also changed in recent decades as some industries, the paper industry in Wisconsin for an example, has diminished or disappeared, like the clothing and shoe industry.
Personal Truth-O-Meter: The only part of Wisconsin ACT 23 endorsed by this column is the most controversial issue on voter ID. The existing rules on state elections were working well and did not need tampering – including day of voting by unregistered electors at the poll. The ID, for those people required to show proof of residence to a poll worker, would be further proof of their eligibility.
An issue with the current process, not included in Act 23, are rules affecting local elections by temporary residents, like college students, who do not have a vested interest in the local community, but can vote for local candidates.
In 1972, Ripon College student Mark Conrad, 21, became the youngest mayor in state history when he was elected to lead Ripon. Conrad went on to a distinguished career in government, finance and currently an associate lecturer in political science at UW-Barron County.
They would be eligible to vote in state and federal elections that do not affect rules or finances of concern to local residents.
The state’s most often cited public opinion poll by Marquette University, in a recent survey, found just over one percent of registered voters did not have a “currently valid” photo ID, but among likely voters that share was less the half a percent.
It may seem its much ado about nothing, but this column agrees with opponents that no voter should be disenfranchised – especially the many elderly using absentee ballots.
Absentee votes are issued through the municipal clerk’s office and should be exempted from the ID requirement, because clerk’s have information at hand to verify the person and residence that poll workers do not have.