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The Stakes Must Be HighPosted Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 12:19 PM
With the recent recall election in Wisconsin over, I wonder where our country is heading. I've seen several differing figures about how much was spent on the recall in Wisconsin, and if true, I hope the voters of WI got the best man. Reports say that most of the funding came from out of state.
Wisconsin, according to state records available on line, has 3,270,637 registered voters (report from July 2011). According to newspaper reports of voter turnout, 57.7% of registered voters in WI voted. So if my math is anywhere close, that means that somewhere just south of 2 million people voted in the Wisconsin recall.
It has been reported that $63.5 million was spent in Wisconsin, not counting the states actual expense of holding the election. If true, that boils down to about $31.75 per vote cast.
I don't know about you, but I view a recall election a bit like a satisfaction survey. You got something, there are questions about the product provided, so you get surveyed about your feelings. One big difference between a product survey and a recall election is obviously THE MONEY!
When paid, survey takers get a few pennies to a very few bucks for completing a survey. In WI, the voters were treated to 63 and a half million dollars worth of political spending specifically designed to influence their opinion before they got to answer the survey.
Where did we go wrong? How did our political process become the hostage of he who spends the most wins? I guess what troubles me most is that the political stakes are so high that outside sources spend so much on a local state election attempting to influence the outcome.
I bet we're in for a taste of what Wisconsin voters endured in their recall, during the general election this fall. Already the attack ads are starting for US Senator, and most folks agree that Ben Nelson's senate seat will be hotly contested by Bob Kerrey and Deb Fischer. Since a vote in the senate one way or the other now-a-days makes such a big difference it seems, national attention will be squarely on this race, and of course the influence money to go with it.
How much out of Nebraska money spent on this election will be disclosed sometime after the November election. Too bad any corporation, union, SuperPAC, or individual apparently from Timbuctu, AnystateotherthanNebraska can spend virtually unlimited amounts of money trying to influence your decision. Obviously, they have an agenda to protect which may or may not be in Nebraska's best interest.
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