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Home / David Ziemer / An easier solution

An easier solution

After the 2000 election, in which Bush won the Electoral College, but Gore won more popular votes, some persons dissatisfied with the results called for an end to the electoral college.

This week, State Bar President Thomas Basting was displeased with the results of the Bar’s election for President-Elect. Predictably, he proposed a PLAN to change how we elect our bar leaders.

There is a much simpler solution – end the mandatory bar.

Douglas W. Kammer won the election, fair and square. Next year, if someone else runs on the same platform, he or she will win, too.

Basting doesn’t want that to happen, so he wants to change how votes are counted.

But all that needs to be done is to make the bar voluntary. Then, Basting will never again have to worry about malcontented attorneys spoiling the Bar’s elections.

We won’t vote for protest candidates, because we won’t be members eligible to vote.


  1. The problem is that Kammer received substantially less than 1/2 of the votes cast. A run off makes sense to elect a candidate backed by the majority of the membership.

  2. of course, 15,000 members of the mandatory bar have so little regard for the bar, they didn’t even vote. that’s almost 3/4 of the bar.

    its safe to assume the vast majority of them oppose the violation of their right of association.

  3. Actually, with a single issue candidate on the ballot, it was the perfect opportunity for those who oppose the mandatory bar to vote for just that. They did not, so I see the “assumption” as being those who did note vote don’t care about that issue. So you could say 20,000 members oppose a mandatory bar and about 2,000 favor it. Assumptions, as Ronald Regan said about “facts,” are things that lie. They are guesses. Why not encourage a real dialog? That’s what I plan to do.

    Accusing lawyers who did not vote of not caring is silly. Perhaps they are content to know their district governor is who they care about. The president has just one vote. And how many citizens voted in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election? 20%? Do the other 80% have “little regard” for government, because they did not vote? That would be a false assumption. This was an election between three rural Wisconsin attorneys that I doubt anybody outside the bar had really ever heard of. A voluntary bar candidate got some excited but the other issues and were mundane. Lawyers are busy and it is the fact that the bar works for the vast majority of lawyers that they were content to not vote. In society and the bar, no one really knows why lawyers vote or not.

    The bar does a great deal to ensure fair elections and encourage voting. For example, it provided all three candidates with an opportunity for a free mailing and one-page ad in the Wisconsin Lawyer. No candidate paid anything for a mailing to 22,000 lawyers. How much does a one-page WL ad cost? $1,000? They paid nothing for that. The ballots came with a SASE and so no lawyer had to pay a penny to mail in their ballot. Can you say that about the IRS? An election between three rural lawyers would have a low turnout, but it was far better than turnout for the Supreme Court race. It is thanks to the very bar that some have called useless that the winning candidate was able to prevail without spending a penny. Apparently, it’s not so useless after all.

  4. Terrence Berres

    “Lawyers are busy and it is the fact that the bar works for the vast majority of lawyers that they were content to not vote.”

    I suppose that’s better for morale at the BOG meetings than wondering how many members view the Bar as a $224/yr. toll booth.

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