Mar 9, 2012

Ruthelle Frank Reacts to Recent Voting Rights Developments

Ruthelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin fights for
her right to vote against Scott Walker
- Image from the Brad Blog
Ruthelle Frank missed voting for the first time in 60 years last month.

Ms. Frank was unable to legally vote in the February 21 Spring Primary election, disenfranchised from voting in her local school board election in Brokaw, Wisconsin.

Frank is a co-plaintiff who filed suit in federal court to block Scott Walker's voter ID law saying it unconstitutionally burdens the rights of senior citizens, minorities, homeless veterans and others from voting. [Frank v. Walker, 11cv1128, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)]

She is a 84-year-old woman living in Brokaw [and is a member of the Brokaw Village Board] and has been voting since 1948, but would have to pay up to $200 to get a Wisconsin GOP-approved ID.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Ms. Frank offered her thoughts on recent developments in the GOP voter obstruction fights.
"I have been living here 83 years; everybody knows me. We [Brokaw] have 194 people. I maybe could have voted last month illegally," Frank said. "I wasn't allowed to vote legally though, because I didn't have a valid Wisconsin ID. I didn't vote."
As civil rights activists today march from Selma to Montgomery in protest of Alabama's voter ID and anti-immigration laws, Ms. Frank keeps up the fight in Wisconsin.

"My motto is: You don't use what you have, you lose it. But I have never seen treatment like this, what is going on," said Frank. "I'm fighting for everyone who has lost his [voting] rights. This isn't right, it's just plain crazy. Just because we're old, and can't get around like we're young doesn't mean we're stupid and can't think and shouldn't be able to vote."

Asked about GOP criticism of Dane County Judge David Flanagan's temporary injunction barring implementation of the voter ID law while having signed a recall Walker petition, Frank said, "as far as I'm concerned, he has an opinion about Scott Walker and he [Flanagan] has to live his own life, you're not supposed to speak what you believe in?"

Frank whose story was broken by Robert Mentzer last year in the Wausau Daily Herald, sang the praises of old-time journalism, singling out Mentzer.

"I called up Bob Mentzer of the Wausau Daily Herald and told him what was going on; and he just said, 'he's driving over,'" said Frank.

As the state and federal law suits against voter ID laws across the country continue, Frank said she is optimistic and ready for the fight.

"We're going to make it, we're are not going to crawl under a rock. I'm talked to people from California, Washington and even had a relative in Florida call me after seeing me on [Rachel Maddow]. Keep writing and thank you for spreading the story," Frank said.

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