Aug 12, 2014

Election Day in Wisconsin and Police Intimidation

Election Day (primary) in Wisconsin witnessed a City of Fitchburg Police squad make a traffic stop on King James Way, outside of the polling place at Fire Station #2.

The squad proceeded to park some 100 yards away from the front door of the election polling site on King James Way for about an hour to the voiced approval of the A.M. shift Republican Chief Election Inspector, a gentleman named Dale.

What's problematic is that the King James Way ward is heavily African-American, and any car or pedestrian attempting to gain entry to the polling place from King James Way would have to encounter a police squad outside this polling place.

I don't why a police officer chose to site his squad outside a polling place on Election Day morning, likely innocent with no intent or mischievous motive.

But the reactions by a City of Fitchburg chief election inspector, to a Dane County official to a Wisconsin GAB official contacted speak volumes: They had no Earthly idea why an armed and sustained police presence outside a polling site presents any problem or concern to any community of interest.

One need not wonder why Dane County bureaucrats are derided as provincial.

"Wisconsin allows police to be in a voting place during voting hours. However law enforcement officers cannot coerce or intimidate voters, or access voter lists or individual ballots. Report any intimidating police presence immediately," advises the civil rights action think tank, the Advancement Project.

In Wisconsin, as in other states, the Republican Party war against the wrong kind of person casting a vote continues.

Today, a light turnout in an unusually timed August Partisan Primary Day [typically the Wisconsin Partisan Primary Day is in September], makes the practical effect of the armed police and a conspicuously sited squad car negligible.

However, in November as the African-American vote turns out, Republicans are pulling out all dirty tricks to obstruct as many voters as possible.

Only a white Republican could not understand why police present a threat by their very presence to the African-American community used to harassment while driving, walking, or shopping.

Let's not include voting on this list in November.

A friendly stop for a chat by a police officer is always welcome on Election Day, but a prolonged presence is an ingredient in intimidation, and should be guarded against, exposed, and challenged.

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