Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

What Should Be Allowed on your F#$@ing Ballot?

People that know me well know that I love nothing more than fringe candidates.  So when I saw that today a woman was testifying in front of the state Government Accountability Board (GAB) in order to have the words “Not the whiteman’s bitch” placed under her name on the ballot, well…. DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Ieshuh Griffin, independent candidate for the 10th Assembly district, was an impressive witness.  As an independent candidate, she is entitled to have a “Statement of Principle” of up to five words placed under her name on the ballot.  It is assumed that people generally know what “Republican” and “Democrat” mean, but “Independent” could mean anything – so independent candidates are allowed to briefly clarify their platforms.

Obviously, the GAB argued that Griffin’s proposed statement of interest was obscene.  Griffin appealed to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to affirm her free speech rights.  She attempted to debunk the idea that “bitch” is an offensive word, pointing out that it refers to a female dog.  And she was able to quote the GAB rules, chapter and verse.  Obviously, she’s a smart woman, and knows exactly what she’s doing by challenging the GAB’s authority to censor her statement. (In fact, I’d probably vote for her – how can she be any worse than any of the other Milwaukee legislators?)

During the debate, it appeared the GAB panel of ex-judges was sympathetic to Ms. Griffin’s free speech argument.  (Of course, if some independent candidate had put “keep out illegals” as their statement, they would have been thrown off the ballot within seconds.)  An attorney for the GAB said candidate statements have been stricken from the ballot for saying things like “cut taxes,” which seems preposterous.

In the end, Ms. Griffin got a majority of the GAB board to side with her by a 3 to 2 vote.  Unfortunately, she needed four votes to win her petition, so her statement will be removed from the ballot (she said she will appeal.)

But given that her position was shot down by a group of old white guys, it makes her statement of purpose a little ironic, no?

(I’ll post the WisconsinEye video when it’s available.)

In other news, the GAB declined a GOP effort to have Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (or, “T-Ball” as she is known amongst the youngsters) removed from the ballot for having an insufficient address on her nomination papers.  Baldwin apparently listed an office address on her papers, not her actual voting address.  Her campaign claims she was granted a security exemption, given that she is a lesbian.

Let’s back up there.  I have no knowledge of whether any threats have been made against Tammy Baldwin, and I can imagine they’re pretty horrifying.

But really?  In Madison? Of all the places on the planet you’d think would care the least about her orientation, Madison would be at the top of the list.  I’m certainly not saying her security fears are unwarranted – it’s just weird that it still happens in the most progressive town in America.


  1. So you don’t think it’s possible that people outside of Madison might read the report to get her address? Are you really trying to somewhat defend this ridiculous game they are playing trying to get her address so every gay-hating person can show up at her door?

    Of course it still happens in a progressive town like Madison. It’s not weird, it’s sad.

  2. Christian Schneider

    July 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Whoa – slow down, Lynch. You’re putting words in my mouth.

    I never defended the attempt to get Tammy thrown off – in fact, it never had a chance of succeeding, and was certainly a waste of time. I was simply surprised that in a community as welcoming as south central Wisconsin (we DID, after all, elect the first open lesbian to Congress), that she would be the victim of threats. And you’re right – if that’s the case, it is both weird and sad.

  3. No, I didn’t mean you supported the efforts to throw her off and I didn’t say that. I meant you were sort of defending their efforts to get her address.

    There are roads to Madison and folks filled with hate could easily find her if she had to reveal her address.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *