Jun 28, 2017

Ruthelle Frank, Civil Rights Worker, Dies at 89

Ruthelle Regina Frank, (August 21, 1927 - June 4, 2017)
Ruthelle Frank lived in the tiny village of Brokaw in northern Wisconsin. She led a life as a public servant and a public intellectual.

Ms. Frank died this week at 89, (Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune).

The last six years Ruthelle Frank has been the co-plaintiff in the major federal voting rights case, Frank v. Walker, still being litigated at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, (Wisconsin Public Radio, ACLU,).

On March 9, 2012, I had the pleasure to speak with Ruthelle Frank by phone in Brokaw, (Mal Contends), following rightwing attacks against Dane County Judge David Flanagan and Dane County Judge Richard G. Niess after the judges had ordered injunctions of Wisconsin Republicans' photo voter ID law, litigated simultaneously in state court, (The Capital Times, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker,).

Said Frank, in a previously published piece in Mal Contends:

'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.'
'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-school 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.

Ruthelle Frank, (1927-2017), lived her life and fought for her rights and those of her fellow Wisconsinites with whom Ms. Frank felt she gave a common effort.

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