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 thatinterview, co-host Robert Kraig,Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin,interjected to askDimitrijevic for a clarification aboutWWFPballot access. He wanted confirmation that WWFP planned to use fusion voting, which he stated could theoretically allow candidates to be botha WWFP and Democratic candidateand if WWFPsucceedsin the future,candidateswill be able to run as WWFPkeep? Republican candidates as well.He noted that for now,all of theprogressiveshappen to be Democrats, but in the future there could be Republican progressives. Dimitrijevic did notconfirm or deny, instead she discussed the success that voter fusion had most recently inOregonand other states.

Whatexactlyis fusion voting? Well, here’s one way it works.

Theoretically, letssay that WWFPendorses a candidate. More likely than not, that candidate is a Democrat. That candidate running will have the benefit of having voters vote forthemon either the Democratic or theWWFPline, and the votes for thatcandidate from bothlinesare tallied together. For example, if candidate Areceives 35% of the total votes cast on the Democratic Partylineand 20% of the total votes on the WWFPline, whilecandidate B receives 45% of the total votes on the Republicanline, candidateAwinswith a combined55% of the votes!

The big problem is, Wisconsin law does not allow forcandidates to be on the ballot for the same office more than once in partisan primaryraces, and in non-partisan races, fusion voting is obsoletebecause parties are not listed on the ballot in those elections.See the Wisconsin state statuteChapter 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 partyof which the candidate is not a member, the names of not more than three political parties selected by the candidate shall be printed withthe name of the candidate.According to the State of Wisconsins Governmental Accounting Board (GAB), the states official agency foroverseeing elections, no such law exists in Wisconsin.

So what isSup.MarinaDimitrijevictalking aboutas it pertains to fusion voting in Wisconsin?

Inlocalelectionsfor common council or county supervisor, there is no party affiliation: once again what is she talking about?

The bottom line is thatWWFP is running againstthe Democratic Party of Wisconsin.There is nocollaborationorconjunctionbetween thesetwoparties.This is exactlywhatRobert Kraigwas referringtointhe interview with Dimitrijevicwhen she did not respond to cutting the progressive vote against the Democrats.

Clearly WWFP wantsto put its resourcesbehind candidates they believe can win. WWFP wants to focus its resources on candidatesthey believe will takeworking 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 anycontractualagreement 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 republicansectors;he contracts with major corporations like Global Pipelines, a company that makes oil pipelines forEndridge,ahugeoil and gas company that is engaged in building and operating theXXL oil linesthat 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 WWFPand 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 advancingtheworking 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 forNation Consulting. Unless, the firm is consulting on vetting for candidates who are sympathetic to corporate development and investment needs.Such candidateswhoare 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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