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Fictitious Cartoon Pretends Ballots Burned in Trash

Updated: May 21

Months ago, after pointing out the completely made-up argument that Final Five could result in ballots being "thrown in the trash", an anti-Final Five testimony was recently changed to refer to the "proverbial" throwing away of ballots. Proverbial refers to things that don't happen, so for example, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back on this is, in fact, no straw has ever broken a camel's back, just as no instant runoff ballot has ever been trashed during the count.

However, rather than moving on from this lie, it was expanded this weekend by a cartoon supposedly showing instant runoff ballots floating out of a voter's hand, who was sitting in a bus, and floating (a ballot is faintly seen in the photo above in the upper left) into a trash can consumed by the burning of fellow ballots and mind of some creative yet detached graphic designer. To the left of this silly, and beyond deceiving, drawing is the picture of an actual ballot for an election held at the same convening.

In this case, yours truly had checked one of the names - Pam Travis - to represent Wisconsin on the RNC board. We knew from a survey we did of 53 of Wisconsin's 72 counties two weeks ago that, while Travis had a slight edge in the race, it would probably take two rounds for her to win, as she was four points shy of the 50% needed to win. In reality, the first round resulted in a finish just lower than that, and both she and Christine Illgen finished as the top candidates for a second round. The third-place candidate, Maripat Krueger, was then eliminated from the race, and delegates from almost every county - most of whom had already been in the building for close to 12 hours - had to stay for almost another hour to vote again.

You don't need to be an elections expert to see the quick and easy solution to this - if all the delegates could have simply written a "1" by their first choice and a "2" by their second choice, then all the votes cast for Christine or Pam would have stayed (not "thrown in the proverbial trash), and the chairs would have only taken a few extra minutes to look at all the ballots that had a "1" by Maripat and transferred their votes to whoever they wrote "2" next to - Christine or Pam - and then whichever had a majority would win. The only ballots that "would not count" in the runoff are those of anyone who simply wrote a "1" by Maripat and didn't care who else won, thus choosing not to vote for any other choice. This is consistent with voting for all of time - if someone CHOOSES not to cast a vote between two candidates then, of course, a vote is not counted by them.

Instead, anyone who wanted to vote AGAIN for their candidate, or any Maripat voter who now wanted to choose between the two that could win, had to stick around for hours more after 12 hours of lively session, sit and stay down by their county to vote, wait for a new ballot to be bought to them, be told "you can't check Maripat this time, you need to pick one of the other two", then vote, then wait for an official to come away later to collect their ballot, and ONLY THEN have them start a new get the idea.

The irony is that, by not simply letting voters put a "1" and "2" by their preferred candidates, several votes were LOST - predictably, many voters got tired of waiting around and simply left. Poetic justice was served when many of those departures were from some of the areas strongly against any instant runoff ballot like for example, the one that would've avoided their vote not counting because they left prior to the vote on a second ballot. Perhaps the cartoon could be used after all to show all the votes that were not counted for the opposite reason - that voters ONLY VOTED ONCE and then left, not realizing there would be a "proverbial" burning of their ballots after they left for dinner and a second round of balloting began only for those who stuck around to wait for the first results and then vote again.

The same thing will happen again this fall - when Tammy Baldwin, like Joe Biden in 2020, has a path to victory with less than 50% of the vote because, like in 2020, other candidates, Libertarian Phillip Anderson and American Independent Party Scott Aubart, will take tens of thousands of swing voters away from Eric Hovde, the Republican nominee.

Outside of knowing a simple instant runoff ballot would have prevented the votes of many first-ballot voters from being counted, there were many great developments this weekend including the launch of my other organization, the Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalition, as shown in the forwarded email to them below on Sunday:

--------- Forwarded message ---------

From: John Pudner, President WI Faith & Freedom Coalition <>

Subject: Pentecost Prayer Breakfast Wraps WIFFC Launch Weekend

Pentecost Prayer Breakfast Wraps WIFFC Launch Weekend

Pardon any typos as I send this as I am leaving an inspirational 22nd annual prayer breakfast in Appleton WI to get back to Pentecost Mass this evening in Milwaukee and cap a weekend that included hundreds attending the Ice Cream Sunday launch of the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition while two new conservatives were elected to national spots:

Prayer Breakfast.

Governor Scott Walker (center in photo with Israeli flags) keynoted the first prayer breakfast in 2002, and was followed by the founder of National Faith & Freedom Ralph Reed, former Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Senator Ron Johnson, and others over the years. Amazing Grace was sung by Tony Nasvik of Faith Wins (right in photo with Israeli flag) - who was the first President of the Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalition. I am holding up a small Israeli flag halfway between the two.

WI Faith and Freedom Coalition Kick-off event.

Hundreds attended the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition kick-off event featuring ice cream Sundaes on Friday night. I went from alcohol to sundaes years ago at southern conventions because a larger percentage of our faith-based voters did not drink. As of a 2020 study, 60 percent of evangelical leaders did not drink.

However, launching the 2024 Wisconsin Faith & Freedom effort we are in one of the six states on the map below in which most conservative faith-based voters are either Catholic or Lutheran - where light social drinking is more common and in fact wine is part of communion at church. Being Wisconsin, there was alcohol within 30 feet of our kickoff, so we kept the focus on sundaes.

Congrats Pam and Terry on Elections!

In between these two great events, there were two very close elections for RNC Committeeman and Committeewoman. We ran estimates two weeks ago based on our surveys and talking to leaders on how 53 of the 72 counties would vote and calculated that Pam Travis and John Hiller would win the two spots on a second ballot since neither would get 50% on the first ballot.

John Hiller, who has long run advance for President Trump in addition to having been treasurer for Scott Walker, did not run, and Terry Dittrich (who our survey showed two weeks ago as 3% ahead when Hiller was out) won 53% to 47%. Pam did win the National Committeewoman spot on the second ballot 51% to 49% on the ballot I showed before. So congrats Pam and Terry!

I do try to avoid mixing messages from my two groups since our effort to turn out faith-based voters is completely separate from the efforts at election reform for www.takebackaction,org, but I can’t help pointing out that if attendees had just been allowed to put a “1” but their first choice (instead of the check mark I put by Pam below) and a “2” by their second choice, then when Maripat Krueger finished 3rd place then the Chairs could have just taken a few minutes to see how many of her voters had a “2” by each of the other candidates to determine the winner - but instead, we took another hour to all vote again between the remaining two and it all works out the same except for the voters who went home to Waukesha or where ever before voting in the 2nd round.

John Pudner, President

Wisconsin Faith & Freedom

414.207.4382 phone

404.606.3163 text


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