WWFP Fusion Voting and Candidates 

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda, KINGFISHmke

September 4, 2015

Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP) state director, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic, recently said in an interview that WWFP will be using “fusion voting” as a means to get candidates that WWFP endorses elected to office. In that interview, co-host Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, interjected to ask Dimitrijevic for a clarification about WWFP ballot access. He wanted confirmation that WWFP planned to use fusion voting, which he stated could “theoretically” allow candidates to be both a WWFP and Democratic candidateand if WWFP “succeeds in the future,” candidates will be able to run as WWFPkeep? Republican candidates as well. He noted that for now, all of the “progressives” happen to be Democrats, but in the future there could be “Republican progressives.” Dimitrijevic did not confirm or deny, instead she discussed the success that voter fusion had most recently in Oregon and other states.

What exactly is fusion voting?  Well, here’s one way it works.

Theoretically, let’s say that WWFP endorses a candidate. More likely than not, that candidate is a Democrat. That candidate running will have the benefit of having voters vote for them on either the Democratic or the WWFP line, and the votes for that candidate from both lines are tallied together. For example, if candidate A receives 35% of the total votes cast on the Democratic Party line and 20% of the total votes on the WWFP line, while candidate B receives 45% of the total votes on the Republican line, candidate A wins with a combined 55% of the votes!

The big problem is, Wisconsin law does not allow for candidates to be on the ballot for the same office more than once in partisan primary races, and in non-partisan races, fusion voting is obsolete because parties are not listed on the ballot in those elections. See the Wisconsin state statute Chapter 8.03 on “Multiple nominations”  here.

In Oregon, the “Fusion Voting Law,” ORS 254–135(3) (D),  states, “For a candidate who is a member of a political party who is nominated by more than one political party of which the candidate is not a member, the names of not more than three political parties selected by the candidate shall be printed with the name of the candidate.” According to the State of Wisconsin’s Governmental Accounting Board (GAB), the state’s official agency for overseeing elections, no such law exists in Wisconsin.

So what is Sup. Marina Dimitrijevic talking about as it pertains to fusion voting in Wisconsin?

In local elections for common council or county supervisor, there is no party affiliation: once again what is she talking about?

The bottom line is that WWFP is running against the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. There is no “collaboration” or “conjunction” between these two parties. This is exactly what Robert Kraig was referring to in the interview with Dimitrijevic when she did not respond to “cutting the progressive vote against the Democrats.”

Clearly WWFP wants to put its resources behind candidates they believe can win. WWFP wants to focus its resources on candidates they believe will take working class issues seriously.

But here’s where the effort becomes disconcerting. 

For the better part of the past two weeks, KINGFISHmke.com has requested that a yes or no response be provided to our inquiry regarding any contractual agreement between WWFP and Nation Consulting. 

Nation Consulting senior partner and founder, Thad Nation, has donated unrestricted funds to Koch brothers’ organizations through his Astroturf nonprofit organization, the Coalition for the New Economy. 

In addition, Thad Nation has said that he is a business that operates in democratic and republican sectors; he contracts with major corporations like Global Pipelines, a company that makes oil pipelines for Endridge, a huge oil and gas company that is engaged in building and operating the XXL oil lines that runacross Wisconsin, which reportedly “affects every waterway in the state”— among other consulting contracted corporate endeavors.

Which brings us back to WWFP and our request to know if there is a contractual agreement between WWFP and Nation Consulting.

Contracting with this consulting firm, whose founder and senior partner gave unrestricted funds to Americans for Prosperity (AFP) during the year AFP was working against the recall of Governor Scott Walker, doesn’t bode well for advancing the working families cause.  

Informed speculation says that this consulting firm is not going to compromise its contracts with any of its major corporate clients. Unless, the firm is consulting WWFP on vetting candidates who are sympathetic to corporate development and deregulation needs. 

Also, WWFP candidates fighting for jobs that pay a living wage could compromise any corporate contract for Nation Consulting. Unless, the firm is consulting on vetting for candidates who are sympathetic to corporate development and investment needs. Such candidates who are sympathetic to corporate needs would also benefit Nation Consulting.

So once again, “Is there a contractual agreement between WWFP and Nation Consulting or not?”
“The issue is not the size of government. The real issue is who the government works for.”
--- Robert Reich

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Last edited by patricia obletz. Based on work by Tyler Schuster.  Page last modified on September 04, 2015

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