Showing posts with label Republican Voter Obstruction Wisconsin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republican Voter Obstruction Wisconsin. Show all posts

Aug 2, 2014

U.S. DoJ Statement on Wisconsin and Ohio Voter Obstruction Laws

The fight to protect voting rights in Wisconsin is now in federal hands as the Wisconsin Republican Party's four members on the state Supreme Court have dismantled impartiality and the rule of law in favor of corruption and service to Republican campaign finance contributors.

Welcome to Mississippi's Supreme Court.

Scott Walker is working on moving the rest of the state into Mississippi territory in policy areas ranging from public education to environmental protection as Walker's presumptive Democratic Party opponent, Mary Burke, avoids an issues-based campaign ignoring grassroots citizens' groups, and more broadly Scott Walker's pernicious social engineering project.

From the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice:
 
Attorney General Eric Holder announced today [Wednesday, July 30, 2014] that the Justice Department has submitted filings in voting rights cases in Wisconsin and Ohio.  The department’s involvement in these two cases represents its latest steps to enforce the remaining parts of the Voting Rights Act against restrictive state laws, following up on the department’s lawsuits last year against similar measures in Texas and North Carolina.
 
In the Wisconsin case, the department filed an amicus brief in Frank v. Walker and LULAC v. Deininger, supporting an earlier ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin that struck down Wisconsin’s strict photo voter identification requirement due to its effects on minority voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and because it unduly burdens a substantial number of voters in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  In the Ohio case, the department filed a statement of interest in NAACP v. Husted, a challenge by a civil rights group to a state law curtailing early voting and same day registration.   The department’s brief contests the state of Ohio’s incorrect interpretation of the standards set forth by Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
 
“These filings are necessary to confront the pernicious measures in Wisconsin and Ohio that would impose significant barriers to the most basic right of our democracy,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.   “These two states’ voting laws represent the latest, misguided attempts to fix a system that isn’t broken.   These restrictive state laws threaten access to the ballot box.   The Justice Department will never shrink from our responsibility to protect the voting rights of every eligible American.   And we will keep using every available tool at our disposal to guard against all forms of discrimination, to prevent voter disenfranchisement, and to secure the rights of every citizen.”
In the amicus brief filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the department argues that the district court reached the correct decision by finding that Wisconsin’s voter ID law, known as Act 23, violated the Fourteenth Amendment, because it imposes unjustified burdens on a significant number of voters, and violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, because it has a discriminatory result on African-American and Hispanic voters.   In addition to finding that Act 23 would result in minority voters having less opportunity to participate in the political process relative to other members of the electorate, the court found that the state’s claimed interests in combating voter fraud and promoting electoral confidence did not justify the significant burdens Act 23 imposes on substantial numbers of voters who lack a qualifying ID.
 
In the statement of interest filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the department makes clear that Section 2 prohibits the state of Ohio from imposing any voting qualification, prerequisite to voting, or any standard, practice or procedure that would result in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote on account of a person’s race, color or membership in a language minority group.  The filing also makes clear that in its own filings in the case the state of Ohio has incorrectly interpreted its requirements under Section 2.   The department did not take a position on any of the other claims in the case.
 
“The United States Department of Justice today affirms its clear position that, under Wisconsin’s Act 23, minority voters have less opportunity to participate in the political process,” said James L. Santelle, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  “The amicus brief that we are filing not only supports the trial court’s findings but also reflects the department’s continuing focus on ensuring that the franchise remains fully available to all qualified voters.”
 
“Wisconsin's proud history is one of expanding the opportunity to vote,” said John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.   “I'm honored to file this brief with the United States Department of Justice seeking to ensure that this great Wisconsin tradition is reaffirmed, and that every Wisconsin citizen has an equal opportunity to participate in democracy.”  
 
“This office remains committed to preserving the rights of every Ohio voter,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.   “Making sure that courts continue to carefully examine voting restrictions, such as the ones recently imposed in this state, is an important part of that effort.”
 
In the year since the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula that determined which jurisdictions were subject to preclearance under the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act remains one of the department’s most powerful tools to protect voting rights.   Last year the department used Section 2 to file two lawsuits against the state of Texas to stop the newly enacted discriminatory voter ID law and and to obtain a ruling that the state engaged in intentional discrimination in adopting its 2011 redistricting plans.  In North Carolina, the department used Section 2 to sue to stop a number of provisions in an election law that imposes strict voter ID requirements, restricts early voting, eliminates same-day registration and refuses to count otherwise valid provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct.  The suit alleges that the challenged law was motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose and will result in African-American voters having less opportunity than other citizens to participate in the political process.  All three cases are ongoing.

Related Material:

Jul 31, 2014

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Upheld Four-to Three in Repudiation of Wisconsin Voting Guarantees

Appalling, corrupt decision dispels myth of impartial Court

The photo voter ID decision is posted on Wisconsin Supreme Court page.

The law remains unenforceable due to a federal injunction in two consolidated federal cases against the law.

Other major decisions issued today can be found here at Court page.

There can be no doubt that Wisconsin Republican Party's de facto four partisan justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are either removed from the reality of 100,000s of Wisconsin citizens or more likely just issued a corrupt partisan decision, salvaging the photo voter ID law.

Wrote Justice Patience Roggensack in the four-three opinion: "In the present case, we conclude that the burdens of time and inconvenience associated with obtaining Act 23-acceptable photo identification are not undue burdens on the right to vote and do not render the law invalid."

Wisconsin's Constitutional guarantee to vote is so expansive that in the 19th century, it took a Constitutional amendment to mandate registration of voters.

The point is that "state constitutions explicitly grant the right to vote to state citizens," as Joshua A. Douglas notes in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Thankfully Wisconsin's two U.S. attorneys (the top law enforcement officials in their respective districts) along with U.S. Attorney General Holder have defended the right to vote against this Republican voter obstruction effort.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson' dissent reads in part: "Today the court follows no James Madison--for whom Wisconsin's capital city is named--but rather Jim Crow," noted the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in a statement..

Writes Abrahamson: "Act 23's photo identification requirements severely burden eligible voters without being narrowly tailored to achieve the state's compelling interests of reducing voter fraud and increasing voter confidence in the outcomes of elections.  For that reason, Act 23 is an unconstitutional election regulation, and I therefore respectfully dissent."

The rationale of Act 23 is to block as many Democratically leaning voters as possible from casting votes.

“Rather than blocking thousands of eligible citizens from voting, we should be working to ensure that our elections are free, fair and accessible to all eligible Wisconsin voters,” said Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in a statement.

This is a result-oriented decision that purposely misapplies a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Crawford v. Indiana and ignores the guarantee to vote in the Wisconsin Constitution, and the long history of case law recognizing this guarantee.

Never in Wisconsin judicial history has there been this type of corrupt decision that attacks the foundation of the state of Wisconsin as a political entity.

Jul 30, 2014

Three Huge Civil Rights Rulings to Be Released Thursday Morning in Wisconsin

Update: In other legal news, another of Scott Walker's attempts to grab power, Walker's judicial ally's halting the John Doe probe looking into the criminal scheme of which Walker was central, is set to be heard in oral arguments on September 9 before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa halted the John Doe probe in early May in Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. v Francis Schmitz.

Also, the U.S. "Department of Justice today intervened in the ACLU of Wisconsin voting rights case, filing an amicus brief in opposition to the voter ID law," the ACLU reports.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is poised to make three historic rulings on Photo Voter ID (Act 23); Act 10 curtailing freedom to form public workers' unions; and the law codifying right of same-sex couples to receive domestic partner benefits. (Stein, Ferguson, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

The cases are:
  • League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Scott Walker, et al. combined with Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Scott Walker
  • Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Scott Walker
  • Julaine K. Appling, et al. v. James E. Doyle, et al
All of the cases represent part of Scott Walker and the right wing's legislative attempt to codify the authority of their temporary partisan majority in the legislative and executive branch to take away rights and political power of disfavored citizens.

The cases' opinions can be found at the "Today's Released Supreme Court Opinions" link on Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Central Time, barring any technical difficulties, according to a clerk reached at the Wisconsin Supreme Court this morning.

Most observers predict the Court will strike down the photo Voter ID law because of Wisconsin's expansive protection of the right to vote.

Act 10 curtailing the right to form public unions will likely be upheld by the four-three right wing Court majority.

And I have no idea what the Court will do with the domestic partnership statute signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle on June 29, 2009.

May 16, 2014

Wisconsin Attorney General Refuses to Defend Constitutional Law Enforcement Officers

Wisconsin Attorney General
refuses to defend Constitutional
law enforcement officers
As the Republican Party works to stop the bipartisan John Doe investigation looking into possible issue ad coordination between the Scott Walker campaign, (and likely Wisconsin state senate campaigns), and numerous groups that ran issue ads in the 2012 recall elections, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa ruled that "[Wisconsin] regulations and statutes" do not apply to the groups subpoenaed in the investigation, thus no John Doe probe may continue.

Randa's is an absurdly activist and corrupt decision, heavily criticized among jurists.

Randa has stepped in the middle of a law enforcement investigation conducted by Wisconsin constitutional officers (district attorneys, Article VI, section 4) who are empowered by Wisconsin statutes to conduct John Doe probes in specific circumstances.

Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen should be attempting to intervene in Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. v Francis Schmitz, et al. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel document) and defend Wisconsin constitutional officers in their criminal justice investigation.

The fact that Van Hollen is sitting this case out speaks to the fact that Van Hollen feels his duty is to the Republican Party of Wisconsin and not the people and Constitution of Wisconsin.

When Van Hollen feels his party is threatened by litigation, Van Hollen's Department of Justice (DoJ) has no hesitation constructing any argument no matter the effect on the rights of Wisconsin citizens, if the DoJ would prevail.

Consider Van Hollen's effort to try to stay the injunction against Wisconsin's photo voter ID law, Act 23, designed to obstruct Wisconsin voters (Frank v. Walker; League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger).

Writes Van Hollen and the Wisconsin DoJ in a May 2014 motion to keep the GOP-crafted voter ID operative for the next election: “‘[A]ny time a State is enjoined by a court from effectuating statutes enacted by representatives of its people, it suffers a form of  irreparable injury’” [Maryland v. King, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1, 3 (2012)] (other citations omitted).

If Van Hollen truly feels this way, why is he not blasting away at Judge Randa in court and in the press?

May 13, 2014

Wisconsin Attorney General Is Just Another GOP Hack

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is again using his office in service to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, instead of the people of Wisconsin.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Yesterday, Van Hollen appealed Wisconsin Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman's order and opinion finding Wisconsin photo voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The appeal will heard by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Van Hollen could refuse to defend the unconstitutional law that after a November 2013 trial that showed that Wisconsin Act 23 could disenfranchise as many as 300,000 Wisconsin voters, among them minorities, the elderly, disaffected veterans, students, technical college students and those who have recently moved their residences.

Newspapers, some of which are GOP-leaning in their editorial pages, have urged Van Hollen to stop wasting money and time defending a law intended to make it more difficult for Wisconsin citizens to vote, in furtherance of the careers of Republican Party officeholders.

Van Hollen's decision comes as no surprise as he vowed to appeal in early May, nor does Scott Walker, James Sensenbrenner and the Republican Party's tenacious pursuit and abiding support of blocking Wisconsin voters from voting.

It bears repeating that in 2008 Van Hollen tried to use the Help America Vote Act to suppress Democratically leaning voters to stave off landslide defeat for the McCain-Palin ticket of which Van Hollen served as co-chair.

In 2008, WisPolitics uncovered an audio recording revealing Van Hollen promising such action on during the Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota, after multiple conversations with Reince Priebus, then Wisconsin GOP party chairman, after Van Hollen denied holding secret conversations on the suit with Republican officials.

"(T)here was no discussion with anybody involved in leadership with the Republican Party (or the McCain campaign) about this (voting rule) lawsuit before it was brought," Van Hollen said.

WisPolitics blew that lie out of the water after uncovering audio of Van Hollen talking with the Republican leadership promising legal action in a corruption of his office.

Though Republicans often contend that state photo voter ID laws have been found constitutional in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board (2008) by the U.S. Supreme Court, Earnest A. Canning knocked down this contention in his piece from early May in the Brad Blog.

Canning's analysis is required reading for anyone reporting on the GOP voter obstruction and photo voter ID laws.

Writes Canning:
In 2006, Indiana Republicans enacted the first such polling place Photo ID law in the nation. That case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board (2008), before it was allowed to be enforced by the state.
 
The Court's ruling in the case, however, was far different from how Republican defenders of such laws have portrayed it ever since, including Texas Attorney General (and Gubernatorial candidate) Greg Abbot, who falsely claimed last year, in response to the U.S. Dept. of Justice's lawsuit against his state's similar law, that "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes." In fact, the Court did no such thing.
 
As this site, and numerous others, have repeatedly noted, Crawford involved the allegation that Indiana's first-in-the-nation Photo ID voting restriction was unconstitutional "on its face." Six of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justices rejected that facial challenge, but they decidedly did not, as Abbot incorrectly declared, find that "voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes."
 
What they did do, however, is establish the test that must be applied to such laws in determining their constitutionality. At the core of his decision in the Wisconsin case, Judge Adelman applied that test with careful measure.
 
As Judge Adelman observed, Crawford lacked a "majority opinion" --- that is an opinion in which five Justices agreed on the reasons for the decision. Instead, there were four separate opinions: a lead opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy), a concurring opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia (joined by Justices Thomas and Alito), a dissenting opinion written by Justice David Souter (joined by Justice Ginsburg) and a separate dissent by Justice Breyer.
 
While the various Justices agreed and disagreed on a number of points throughout those opinions, Judge Adelman notes that six of the nine Justices each concurred that the correct approach is to apply what he describes as the Anderson/Burdick test, which requires the courts, on a case-by-case basis, to measure a law's potential damage to voters' right to vote, against the specific claims made by the state as to why such additional burdens and restrictions are necessary.
 
"Even very slight burdens," he wrote, "'must be justified by relevant and legitimate state interests 'sufficiently weighty to justify the limitation.'"
 
In fact, all nine Justices in Crawford agreed that the Anderson/Burdick balancing test applied in the case. The difference between the dissenting opinions and the lead opinion written by Justice Stevens is based exclusively on their respective views on the status of the actual evidence on record before the Court.
 
In his dissent, Justice Souter opined that the Hoosier State's polling place Photo ID law "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting right of tens of thousands of the State's citizens...and a significant percentage of those individuals are likely to be deterred from voting."
 
In comments to The BRAD BLOG last October, Bill Groth, attorney for the lead plaintiff in the Crawford case, insisted that he had, in fact, presented an adequate record of undue burden on voters in the case. Justice Stevens, however, didn't see it that way. In his lead opinion, the now-retired Justice observed that "the evidence in the record does not provide us with the number of registered voters without photo identification." He found there was no "concrete evidence of the burden imposed on voters who currently lack photo identification" and reasoned that, based upon the record before the Court, they "cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters."
 
The Court did not find that Indiana's law imposed no burden on voters, as Abbott in Texas, and Republicans elsewhere have attempted to claim, but rather, such evidence had simply not been presented to the Court in that case.
 
In October 2013, after Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner, during a book-tour interview, essentially recanted his original majority opinion in the Crawford case --- the one that eventually landed before the Supreme Court. Posner admitted he'd gotten it wrong. Justice Stevens, who retired in 2010, was then asked about his own lead opinion in the case, and told the Wall Street Journal, that he "always thought that [dissenter] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court at the time] supported everything he said in his opinion."
 
Crawford, Stevens insists, "is state-specific and record-specific." Meaning, the Court's ruling was based on, and applied only to Indiana's version of the law, how it was implemented there, how it affected voters in that particular state, and what information on all of the above was available in the record before the court at the time.

Apr 30, 2014

Voter ID Law Struck Down, Exposed Again As GOP Scheme to Obstruct Voters

Update: See also Exorcising the Voter Fraud Ghost (Hasen, Reuters), and A Federal Judge Searches for Voter Fraud in Wisconsin and Finds None (Cohen, The Atlantic), GOP’s Voter ID Sham Shot Down: Why a Federal Court Said No Way (Friedman, Salon), and Voter I.D. Is the Real Fraud (New York Times editorial, April 29, 2014).

It didn't take long for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (Rochester, Wisconsin) and Scott Walker's office to declare their intentions to call a special session of the legislature to "do whatever it takes to ensure voter ID is in place as quickly as possible," in Vos' words to stop voter fraud.

This is of course a lie; there is no in-person voter fraud in Wisconsin and the media ought to report this fact. 

When Republicans assert voter fraud, they should be held accountable in the news against facts.

The real story is: Republicans are lying and trying relentlessly to stop legal voters from voting. This is an affront to democracy.

Fortunately for Wisconsin, the GOP's obstructive scheme of voter ID, Act 23, is stopped dead in its tracks.

These two cases Judge Lynn Adelman ruled on will take years to get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the mean time, the GOP should be held accountable, and its efforts to obstruct the vote of Wisconsin citizens should be reported on and condemned.

From Wisconsin Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman's opinion:

"The evidence introduced by the plaintiffs confirms that voter-impersonation fraud does not occur in Wisconsin. The plaintiffs offered the testimony of Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University who specializes in the study of the incidence of voter fraud in contemporary American elections. Professor Minnite studied elections in Wisconsin during the years 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012 to determine whether she could identify any incidents of voter fraud. She consulted a variety of sources of information, including newspaper databases, news releases by the Wisconsin Attorney General, criminal complaints, decisions by state courts, and documents issued by the GAB. From these sources, Minnite was able to identify only one case of voter-impersonation fraud. Tr. 1036–42. And the single case of voter-impersonation fraud did not involve in-person voter impersonation. Rather, that case involved a man who applied for and cast his recently deceased wife’s absentee ballot. Tr. 1041. Thus, from Minnite’s work, it appears that there have been zero incidents of in-person voter-impersonation fraud in Wisconsin during recent elections."

Apr 29, 2014

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Struck Down in Federal Court, Permanent Injunction Granted

"IT IS ORDERED that the named Defendants and Defendants’ officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all those acting in concert or participation with them, or having actual or implicit knowledge of this Order by
personal service or otherwise, are hereby permanently enjoined from conditioning a person’s access to a ballot, either in-person or absentee, on that person’s presenting a form of photo identification."
- Wisconsin Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman

Wow.

A November 2013 voting rights trial has resulted in a crushing victory for voting rights activists against the Republican Party and Scott Walker in an opinion issued today in Wisconsin by Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman.

Rick Hasan has an early analysis up.

Apr 22, 2014

Photo Voter ID for the Wisconsin November Election—A Voter System Usability Test

Updated - February 21, 2012 is the only day in Wisconsin history when a new statutory condition—a new qualification—had to be satisfied to cast a vote without an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution.

This statutory condition, a new qualification, is likely one of the grounds on which the Wisconsin Supreme Court will strike down Wisconsin's photo voter ID law, Act 23, as unconstitutional.

Scott Walker knew he and the Republican Party legislators enacted an unconstitutional law that stopped qualified, registered Wisconsin voters from voting.

Scott Walker knows in a heavy voter turn-out election, Act 23 (had it not been enjoined by state courts, and likely a federal judge as well) would obstruct and suppress potentially 100,000s of voters.

This knowledge does not weigh on Walker because stopping Wisconsin voters from voting is precisely the point of Act 23, and the GOP's other voter obstruction laws passed since they took control of the legislature and executive branch.

Put aside. for the moment, the facts demonstrated in federal and state court that blacks, Latinos, the elderly, homeless, homeless veterans, and college students for example would face barriers and burdens imposed by the Republican Party's Act 23.

The February 21, 2012 Spring Primary Election Day—when no statewide races were on the ballots and turn-out was in the single digits—provided a usability test for photo voter ID.

I worked as an election inspector on the voter rolls books on February 21, 2012, at Fire Station #2 (Fitchburg, Wisconsin (Wards 1-4; District one)).

I can tell you that the time imposed on the system, assuming Act 23 or a new photo voter ID act is in effect, would on the November 2014 General Election Day cause huge lines, massive delays, and sow confusion at the polling place: All GOP objectives.

Assume a photo voter ID law is in place in November 2014, as Walker says he'll attempt to enact after the expected judicial knockdown of Act 23, in this heavy turn-out election the waiting times would become unbearable to many.

In this scenario, Wisconsin GAB regulations [which would be slightly revised for a new law] would require each voter at the polls to state his name and address, sign his or her name on the voting rolls, and present a GOP-approved photo voter ID to poll worker (election inspector).

The poll worker in turn would examine the ID against the restrictive list of acceptable IDs; check the name on the ID against the voting roll; examine the photo for resemblance to the voter; and then physically hand the ID to the second poll worker who repeats the process.

The variables of the extra time for the single voter may not seem like much, but this variable (the time increases) are multiplied the longer the line and the higher the turn-out on Election Day.

Throw in time increase factors built into the Wisconsin voting system by Republicans since 2011 such as eliminating weekend early voting, multiple shortening of early-voting periods, new residency rules, elimination of third-person attesting to residency, and so on and the result is less Wisconsin people will have voted.

This is the Republican objective.

In June 2012, many polling places experienced near-presidential level turn-out on the Recall General Election day. Had the photo voter ID rules been in effect, the long lines, and over-an-hour waits for voters registering at the polls on Election Day that already existed that day would have been catastrophically increased, assuming the objective of constitutionally qualified voters casting their preference on Election Day.

Apr 4, 2014

"League of Women Vultures," Says Koch brothers-funded Wisconsin Club for Growth

Updated - The GOP project of obstructing Americans voters in disfavor with the Republican Party has for years come with the GOP attack on campaign finance laws meant to halt corruption in government.

It was no surprise to read that African-Americans, Latinos, students, Jews and gays are hit with bigoted jokes and disparaging comments behind closed Republican doors.

Such voters tend to vote non-Republican, thus are illegitimate to the contemporary Republican powers that be, a group that now openly boasts about its distaste for non-whites.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, founded by the suffragists who fought for 75 years to win the right to vote for women, are known as "Vultures" by the Wisconsin Club for Growth which funds GOP candidates.

Vultures. [Wisconsin Club for Growth source code reads: "<meta property="og:title" content="League of Women Vultures"/>."

The text of an e-mail sent by Melanie G. Ramey of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin illustrates the disdain Scott Walker and his allies have for those committed to universal suffrage and a government of the people.

By Melanie G. Ramey

We don’t often write about other organizations, particularly when we disagree with many of their positions. However, that has not stopped the Club for Growth from writing about us a number of times. An organization with ties to the Koch brothers, Club for Growth (CFG) is currently under investigation for possible campaign finance violations. It sent out an ugly April 2 email with the not-very-original subject line “League of Women Vultures.” Really.

The email took issue with a League of Women Voters® of Wisconsin statement objecting to Governor Walker’s signing of a law banning evening and weekend hours for early voting.

The CFG email reads: “Demonstrating that it doesn’t know or doesn’t care what it’s saying, the League of Women Voters said, “If lawmakers truly want to be fair for voters across the state, they will scrap this regressive law as soon as possible.””

Their snide comment notwithstanding, CFG did quote exactly what the League said. We know that by treating all municipalities equally the new law does not treat all voters equally. Each municipality is allowed one early voting site, regardless of its population. It’s hard to ensure “one person, one vote” when, for example, Milwaukee election officials will have only 9 seconds to process each early ballot under the new restrictions.

This week the Governor signed more bad election bills into law. One will allow election observers to stand as close as three feet from the table in our polling places, where they will be hovering over the voting process, compromising voters’ privacy and adding to the stress of our local election officials.

Another new law will make it virtually impossible for many qualified citizens to register to vote, including students and anyone else who does not have a document such as a Wisconsin driver’s license or bank statement with their own name and current address.

The Governor’s signing statement glossed over the impact of this restrictive new law, stating only that it requires clerks to record the type of document submitted as proof of residence. Either the Governor didn't read the amended bill he signed or he wasn't proud of signing it.

Don’t be fooled. These new laws signed by Governor Walker are extreme. Founded by the suffragists who fought for 75 years to win the right to vote for women, the League of Women Voters® knows suppression when we see it. While our 17 local Leagues will educate and assist voters in complying with the new restrictions, we are also looking into all possible ways to reverse these unfair laws, including legal action.

Mar 27, 2014

Scott Walker Signs Bill Slashing Early Voting

Update: See also Cursed With Nation’s Second-Highest Turnout Rate, Wisconsin Restricts Early Voting (Weigel. Slate); and Wisconsin’s Walker restricts early voting (Benen. TRMS), and GOP Steps Up Attack on Early Voting in Key Swing States (Berman. The Nation).

To no one's surprise, Scott Walker signed a bill slashing early voting, outlawing cities from weekend voting.

All Wisconsin Republicans went along with the latest scheme in the attack on voting, except Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).

A constitutional challenge is likely.

No reaction from Mary Burke, prompting more speculation that another, more activist candidate will get in the Democratic primary.

One Wisconsin Now reacted along with every good government and voting rights groups the same way:

Despite widespread public opposition, Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed into law new restrictions on early voting today. Walker's acquiescence to the latest racist, anti-voter scheme by Republicans eliminates weekend early voting in Wisconsin and outlaws municipalities offering citizens the ability to vote in the two weeks prior to Election Day before 8am or after 7pm.

One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross commented, "Gov. Walker has made his choice. He's put his political ambitions first and turned his back on the constitutional right of Wisconsinites to vote. He is aiding and abetting the fraudulent manipulation of the rules on voting being perpetrated by the Republican controlled legislature."

Early voting has become an increasingly popular way for Wisconsinites to do their civic duty and have a say in the direction of their communities. In fact, 58 Republican legislators who have supported restrictions on early voting have themselves voted early.

The impacts of the law will be felt heavily in urban areas where long lines are a serious issue at the polls and creates significant new challenges for minorities, seniors, working families and persons with disabilities in accessing the franchise.

Walker signed the legislation despite a mere 12% of respondents in a recent statewide poll endorsing the new restrictions on early voting proposed in the bill presented to Walker for his signature.

"This fight is far from over. It may be Governor Walker's signature on the bill today, but this fight will end when a judge signs an order declaring this latest Republican attack on voting unconstitutional," concluded Ross.

Mar 14, 2014

Scott Walker v. Mary Burke—Forfeited by Ms. Burke and the Loser Is Wisconsin

Horse Latitudes - Wisconsin,
you're the horses
Mary Burke has the same chance of being elected governor of Wisconsin as Scott Walker does of becoming the next president of the United States.

I wish to thank Ms. Burke for sticking Wisconsin with Scott Walker for another four years; appreciate this, extraordinary work from the campaign that can't shoot straight.

As anti-citizen bill after anti-citizen bill wafts from the GOP-dominated Wisconsin legislature, Mary Burke decided the prudent communications strategy to employ is that used by Sen. Michael Ellis (R-Neenah), Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Scott Walker: Go dark, be silent and hope no one notices.

Brilliant. I had never even considered doing nothing as a winning game plan.

Yet, the reasoning behind the Burke campaign's lack of action appears unsound.

Of course, there is an opposing view on campaign communications.

For example, when Republicans and only Republicans attack voting (Senate Bill 324) a candidate could actually point this out, repeatedly.

[Note to Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), there is still time to get on the ballot for governor, if only to light the equivalent of a white phosphorus grenade under the Burke campaign's collective ass. (This is a metaphor—met·a·phor [ méttə fàwr ]—for the benefit of the Burke communications team.)]

Another example of Republican chicanery of the most foul, that surely penetrated the brains in the Burke campaign are Senate Bill 300 and Senate Bill 13.

SB 300 helps cancer victims and their families get affordable chemo treatments and is being blocked in the Senate by Republicans after being unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on Insurance and Housing in late January.

Silence emanates from the Burke campaign on SB 300 though likely not because Scott Walker and Republicans get loads of money from the health insurance, finance and real estate industry.

Nationally, this anti-democratic sector gave $129,843,765 to federal candidates since 1990, and is trending Republican fast. Walker's take from the insurance industry and finance sector is well into the $ millions.

Burke's reasoning here is unclear.

Then there's Senate Bill 13 (Senate Substitute Amendment SA1-AB19) that blocks veterans, veterans!, and other cancer victims suffering from Mesothelioma.

Senate Bill 13 passed without comment from Burke.

The thing with cancer survivors and the people who die from it is that cancer—Mesothelioma, Leukemia and too many to list—this condition, this trauma, is what high-priced political consultants and political scientists refer to as: Really bad.

Comforting and pitching in to help a family member or friend dying from cancer is the type of experience that resonates with people, as would the unbelievably callous actions of Republicans and the health insurance industry, if so noted.

Check with your political consultants on this one, Ms. Burke; nevermind, I guess that time has passed.

Mar 12, 2014

Republican Effort to Disenfranchise 100,000s of Wisconsin Voters Began in 2011

Scott Walker's convicted top aides and friends are likely
cheering on Walker and Republicans today.
In 2011, Scott Walker and the Republicans shortened the Wisconsin early voting period by some 18 days, passing Act 23 that limited early voting for all towns, villages and cities to only 12 days. 

Before Act 23, in-person, absentee (early voting) could start when the ballots were printed and clerks received them, providing as many as 30 days of early voting.

Republicans also eliminated early voting on the weekend directly preceding election day in Act 23, passed with sole Republican support.

Now, Republicans today, passed a "bill (that limits) 'early voting' to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday leading up to an election. A municipality would also be limited to 45 hours per week of accepting the in-person absentee ballots," reports Quorum Call.

Republicans in 2011 also extended the residency requirement for voters from ten to 28 days, suppressing the votes of citizens who have recently moved.

Republicans in 2011 also cut the time period allowed for absentee ballots to be cast from 30 days before elections to 14 days.

Republicans' voter ID law, Act 23, has been found to be unconstitutional and is under judicial deliberation in state and federal court.

Now, a host of anti-voting bills is being considered because of the fear Republicans have of voters casting votes. Inaccurately described as preventing voter fraud, these bills are designed to suppress the democratic right of citizens to vote.

No doubt Scott Walker's former staff and close aides, Tim Russell (who embezzled from veterans) and Kelly Rindfleisch (who committed misconduct in the public office held by Scott Walker) are cheering Walker and the Republicans on.

By the way, Mary Burke, you can comment on these matters. If you don't, what does that say about your commitment to defending the constitution? Hello, Mary, Mary?

Wisconsin Republicans Target Veterans and Voters Today

Update III: GOP shafts veterans again. "Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, said the bill presumes that 'somehow the corporations are the victims here, and not the men and women who were willing to put the lives on the line for their country.'" (Quorum Call)

Update II: Republicans slash early voting, no weekend voting, no night voting.

Update: To keep abreast of developments on how Republicans aim to diminish Wisconsin democracy and injure our veterans suffering from Mesothelioma cancer, check out Quorum Call or Wisconsin Eye.

The Republican, gerrymandered legislature is targeting voters and veterans today.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald say he "hates" his colleagues' anti-veterans bill (Wisconsin Senate Bill 13) hurting veterans, therefore he is supporting this anti-veterans bill because "it's just something that has to be done."

This has to be done because the insurance industry, the Koch brothers and other special interests want this done.

Fitzgerald's powers of logic are on a par with our dumb governor Walker.

"Every vets group oppose this bill because it's unfair to vets," said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison), notes Quorum Call.

Fitzgerald and the Republicans should reject the money they get from special interests supporting this anti-veterans bill, and instead take a heap of asbestos and breathe in deeply, sharing the remainder with the whole Republican caucus except Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).

Republicans know much of what they will pass is unconstitutional. So, they are also trying to corrupt the judicial process.

Republicans last month took up Senate Bill 154 [replaced by a vague SENATE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT 1, TO ASSEMBLY BILL 161 that is now passed by the legislature] reading in part:

"If a circuit court or a court of appeals enters an injunction, a restraining order, or any other final or interlocutory order suspending or restraining the enforcement of any statute of this state, the injunction, restraining order, or other final or interlocutory order is immediately appealable as a matter of right."

What if a Court orders a trial and temporary restraining order on a GOP-passed statute like Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan did in March 2012 on Scott Walker's unconstitutional photo voter ID law?

Injured Wisconsin citizens get no day in court while an unconstitutional law inflicts damage?

What exactly do Republicans fear from the rule of law, and voters?

Mar 11, 2014

In Nation's Most Segregated Urban Region, Scott Walker, GOP Fan Flames of Racial Violence

Racist T-shirts sold in Milwaukee at the "Republicans
for Wisconsin" booth at the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair
Update: Republicans pass voter "suppression effort" mandating poll workers "from those outside a community to dictate how elections are run," reports Quorum Call. Republicans inflict another hit on local control, and insult and inflame the African-American communities in Milwaukee and other urban centers.
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Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans know their objectives in their anti-voter election bills in the state legislature.

It's not only about rigging elections.

Walker and the GOP want to use the nation's most segregated urban area and pass legislation that will plant white election inspectors and obnoxious white election observers from out of the African-American wards in a terribly irresponsible and reprehensible effort to promote violence, confusion and chaos at the polls on election day.

This is what Republicans spend their time doing, Senate Bill 20.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) "hates blacks and Latinos" on the floor of the Wisconsin state senate. (Quorum Call. WisPolitics)

Yes. What Walker and the Republicans are doing is sociopathic and certainly hateful.

Carpenter was referring to Senate Bill 20, an opportunity to provoke Milwaukee African-Americans and, Republicans hope, infuse some chaos on election day, a situation that they hope to achieve by repealing early voting, ("push(ed) off (for) a final vote on the measure until (Wednesday)").

The Republicans' I hate you, blacks is intended to met in turn.

It's not enough that the GOP's Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine has already given license for racist whites to kill young black kids, for example Bo Morrision of Slinger, Wisconsin shot and killed by a white racist protected by the Castle Doctrine in 2012. You can bet Scott Walker cried no tears for young Mr. Morrison.

Walker surrounds himself with racists, all getting laughs from racist jokes told among this tight group.

There will be black observers in Milwaukee on election day, as well civil rights workers from the U.S. Dept. of Justice to help keep the peace in the face of white racists brought in by Walker.

There should not have to be.

This is 2014 Wisconsin, not 1966 Alabama:
Nor had violence disappeared as a form of political intimidation (after the Voting Rights Act of 1965). Poll watcher Andrew Jones, a quiet man who was passionate about voting, was struck in the back of the head while on duty in Fort Deposit, (Alabama) Klan bastion [in Lowndes County as, known "Bloody Lowndes" because of the lynchings, and other murders of blacks]. Stokeley Carmichael went ballistic and, with a California friend named Huey Newton, organized a group of armed blacks to search for Jones's attacker. But they never found him. [(Frye Gaillard, "Notes and Quotes: The Interview for Cradle of Freedom, 2000-2002," 45, Frye Gallillard Papers, Alabama State University; Southern Courier, November 12-13, 1966, 2. Cited in (Bending Toward Justice - The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Gary May. Basic Books; 2013; p.233) ]

Scott Walker and Racist GOP Fear Voters; Impede Voting Again

Update: Debating Republicans who want to install election officials to harass African-Americans and Latinos, Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) "hates blacks and Latinos" on the floor of the Wisconsin state senate. (Quorum Call. WisPolitics)That's a fact; Republicans today are racists and depend on racism as a major electoral tool. See, for example, Scott Walker and his staff joking about blacks, Jews and gays.

Against every community of interest except the Republican Party, the Wisconsin state senate is posed to pass along partisan lines a bunch of bills making it harder to vote.

The election of Scott Walker proved people don't matter, Republicans believe; but they want to make certain.

AP writer, Scott Bauer, reports that "Gov. Scott Walker signaled Tuesday that he was open to signing a bill that would limit early voting, including disallowing it on weekends in the two weeks leading up to an election."

Bauer writes:

When asked about the early voting bill following a Wisconsin Bankers Association event, Walker said that it wasn't on his radar yet but he would 'take a look at it' once it clears the Legislature.

'We've got a whole stack of things to look at when they pass through both houses,' Walker said.
Scott Walker is lying as usual. He knows perfectly well what's coming his way.

Walker has threatened to call a special session after Wisconsin's photo voter ID is declared unconstitutional in state and federal court, as is expected.

Walker does not want unfettered access to the polls for Wisconsin citizens disinclined to vote for him in November.

The anti-early voting bill, Senate Bill 324, may pass but don't fret, singling out cities to destroy the votes of those who live in cities is likely to be ruled unconstitutional.

Like restrictive, new qualifications for voting like the GOP's Voter ID, these anti-voting efforts have a way of blowing back on the Republicans.

You're Old and Want to Vote—the GOP Wants to Harass and Stop You

Updated - "For those with a taste for irony, Tuesday’s session of the Wisconsin state Senate will be a rich feast."

A chamber that has again and again tried to take steps to make it easier for rich people and out-of-state corporations to influence politics with their money will consider making it harder for working Wisconsinites to vote." (Nichols. The Capital Times)

Used to be the younger Wisconsin generations showed respect and helped retired folks, elderly folks and especially veterans.

Wisconsin citizens still do, but not the Republican Party that wants to throw barrier after barrier just to make it more difficult for retired folks to vote.

Take a look at Assembly Bill 396—introduced, sponsored and voted for only by Republicans—a GOP effort to make harder to vote; just as the GOP did in its effort to cut early voting, expected to be voted on in the Senate today.

Used to be village and town clerks could send election inspectors out to community-based residential facilities, retirement home, and adult family homes to help folks vote.

Now, the Republicans are targeting this reaching out to help people because the Republican Party doesn't fare well in institutions where people gather to help each other.

The text of AB 396 is so laden with redacted words and paragraphs it looks like rebar before the concrete is poured.

That's because the GOP's AB 396 mandates partisan observers and a host of other rules controlling how municipal election officials are able to facilitate the franchise for the very people who have given the most to our state.

This Republican stunt stinks, as does every other GOP effort to impede voting.

Republicans won't be happy until they are assured only people who vote Republican are able to cast votes.

Mar 10, 2014

GOP Going All-out to Block Wisconsin Voting‏

Sen. Frank Lasee is not working for you
Update: AB 396 passes on an 17-16 vote, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) joining the pro-democracy Democrats.

Update: Look for a constitutional challenge to many of these anti-voting initiatives, for example AB 396: restricting absentee voting by residents of certain adult-care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities by placing unnecessary and burdensome notice requirements prior to the absentee voting process. These anti-voting bills would target and destroy the right to vote of discrete segments of the population in, for example, Agrace HospiceCare of Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Dying of Agent Orange, huh, well you can't vote!

On March 11, the GOP-controlled Wisconsin state senate is set to consider a raft of bills aimed at impeding Wisconsin voters, consumers, and victims of poison and other toxic agents.

Who are the Republicans working for? Not us.

From the AFL-CIO:

Voting rights are under attack in Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin State Senate is getting ready to vote on multiple anti-democracy and voter suppression bills on Tuesday, March 11. These bills will promote ‘pay to play’ politics, deny citizens’ access to the ballot and make it more difficult for people to register to vote.

Also, up for a vote on Tuesday are changes to the Milwaukee Mental Health Complex (SB 565). This bill would remove local control over a local institution, a notion that runs afoul to fundamental democratic principles and should frighten communities across the state. 

Republicans in the state legislature are trying to ram these bills through as quickly as possible in the final days of session. Contact your legislator today in opposition of these bills

Anti-democracy bills that will expected to go to vote on Tuesday, March 11 as of March 10, 2014 include:

•    SB 324: Limits early voting hours allowed by municipalities and removes the option of weekend and evening voting leading up to Election Day.  This would end convenient opportunities for working people, the elderly and the disabled to vote prior to Election Day. 

•    SB 267:  Places additional burdens on people who wish to register early and on the municipal clerks who register them by demanding certain documents as proof of residence and that the clerks record 2 or 4 digits of the document account number on voter registration forms. It amounts to an unnecessary hurdle for both voters and clerks.

•     SB 655: Pay to Play Politics -- allows lobbyists to donate to politicians during election years even if session is ongoing.  This allows lobbyist more time to bribe elected officials and unduly influence state policy. 

•     AB 396: Restricts absentee voting by residents of certain adult-care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities by placing unnecessary and burdensome notice requirements prior to the absentee voting process. In addition, all voting at certain adult-care facilities must occur in the presence of 2 election officials, one from each political party. Further, if some residents in an assisted living facility vote absentee at the facility, then all residents must vote by absentee at the facility and are disallowed from voting in the clerk's office or by absentee mail ballot.

*Sen. Grothman has introduced an outrageous bill to end same day voter registration in Wisconsin!   Allowing citizens to register to vote on Election Day makes our democracy strong and accessible.  People who work for a living, move frequently or are voting for the first time can find it burdensome to register to vote prior to Election Day.  In Wisconsin, we have a proud tradition of welcoming all citizens to participate in our democracy.  Sen. Grothman’s attempt to control the electorate and limit the voting population is transparent and disgusting. 

Update on Local Living Wage Preemption:  This bill stalled in the state Senate last week with Sen. Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) stating it is “unlikely that it will move through the Senate.” However, Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) has said he and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) will continue to lobby fellow legislators for support adding that, “in the Legislature you never count on something being dead until session is actually complete.”

There is still time to make your voice heard.  Contact your legislator today in support of voting rights and democracy!

Mar 8, 2014

Sen. Frank Lasee Changes Vote—Wisconsin GOP Attacks Early Voting; Floor Vote on March 11

Sen. Frank Lasee switched his vote;
now backs GOP bill to block voters

Constitutional challenge likely on GOP effort to impede the right to vote for voters living in high-population municipalities. Targeted obstruction of voters remains illegal.

Updated: Sen. Frank Lasee's (R-De Pere) office can be reached at: (608) 266-3512. Lasee claims he is honored to serve his constituents as state senator for Wisconsin senate District One. Give Lasee a call and ask why he wants to make voting more difficult.

Wonder if this attempt to rig election for Republicans is on Scott Walker's "radar." Walker likes to pretend he has no idea what Wisconsin legislative Republicans are doing.

A reader here advises that Lasee's original objection to the bill in committee was based on Lasee's insistence that observers be allowed to be stationed at municipal clerks' offices during early voting hours. GOP observers frequently harass voters and voting officials, a practice that has not gone unnoted by poll workers.
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Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) voted 'No' on a bill attacking early voting in the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs earlier this year, defeating the anti-voting measure in committee.

The GOP bill that Lasee voted against would limit early voting in all municipal clerks' offices around the state to only weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Now, Lasee changed his vote in committee late Friday on an amended bill, Senate Bill 324, with no explanation for his constituents for his vote for an amended bill that bans early voting on weeknights and weekends, and limits early voting to 45 hours a week.

The amended bill limits early voting in all municipal clerks' offices around the state to only weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 7 p.m.

We know why Lasee changed his vote of course; to help Republicans keep people from voting in high turn-out, statewide elections that Republicans tend to lose.

Everyone, and I mean everyone expected Lasee to cave to the Republican Party over his constituents, Lasee is up for reelection in 2014 and the first-term senator is a noted GOP flunky.

A February Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial blasting the GOP bill after the committee defeat reads, "This partisan, anti-democratic bill is far from dead, and we wouldn't be surprised if Republicans try to push it forward before the end of the session. ... municipalities have large numbers of voters, and it makes sense for them to make it as easy as possible for citizens to vote. That should be something everyone can support. Early voting reduces congestion at the polls on election day. We favor extending this important democratic franchise to as many people as possible. If longer hours during the election season help to promote voting, that's a good thing."

After Lasee's earlier 'No' vote, the GOP attack on early voting—most people think Lasee mistakenly voted No on the bill in committee at first because Lasee is not the brightest bulb—looked to go down to legislative defeat 17-16.

Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) had announced his opposition to the bill in late February, then Lasee changed his committee vote on the bill, amended and now worse for voters than the original bill.

The amended bill now looks to pass 17-16 with Lasee's cave. The anti-voting companion bill, Assembly Bill 54, passed on a party-line vote last year. So, the state assembly would need to pass the senate's version.

Notes One Wisconsin Now, under the amended bill: "Municipalities would be barred from offering in-person voting after 7pm on weekdays and could not allow voters access to their state constitutional right to vote for more than 45 hours per week in the weeks leading up to election day. In addition, weekend in person voting would be outlawed killing non-partisan 'souls to the polls' drives oftentimes organized by faith-based organizations in minority communities."

Sen. Schultz (R-Richland Center), the lone GOP voice against the GOP attack on voting, blasted the bill, saying: small-town Wisconsin clerks say "prefer the flexibility they now have and are tired of Madison (the legislature and governor's office) trying to control and tell localities how to do their business."

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross made the following statement about this latest Republican plot to restrict access to the franchise by outlawing most after hours, early in-person voting in Wisconsin:

"Senate Republicans have outdone themselves. Not only have they revived legislation voted down in committee just weeks ago, they managed to make it even worse.

"Republicans are sending a clear message to working families, minorities, seniors and students that their participation in our democracy is not wanted.

"Whatever the bill number this is yet another cynical and shameful attempt to take away rights and manipulate the rules on voting from Republicans seeking to gain unfair partisan advantage for themselves.

"This fight won't be over if Gov. Walker signs the bill, it will be over when a judge rules this obscene attempt to restrict access to the franchise for minority, elderly and working class voters unconstitutional."

Feb 27, 2014

Wisconsin Sen. Dale Schultz Will Oppose GOP Bill Attacking Early Voting

Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz
In a victory for voting rights, Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) announced he will vote against a bill attacking early voting in Wisconsin.

Schultz announced his opposition to AB 54 and Senate Bill 324 through an aide in a phone conversation with Mal Contends this morning, effectively killing the anti-early voting legislation.

Schultz cited conversations with local election officials and small-town Wisconsin clerks who say they "prefer the flexibility they now have and are tired of Madison (the legislature and governor's office) trying to control and tell localities how to do their business."

Schultz also said through his legislative aide that "the party of Lincoln, T.R., Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan has worked to make it easier to vote, and not harder. It's in the traditional Republican vein to help voting."

The bill would limit in-person, absentee voting (early voting) for all municipalities across Wisconsin to the hours of 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. No observers see the bill as anything but a move against voters to help Republicans win office.

Schultz has criticized the new Republican Party in Wisconsin as captured by extreme special interests, explaining this it why he is leaving the Wisconsin legislature.

Schultz said he will join Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) in voting 'No' if SB 324 comes to a floor vote despite losing in the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs, 3-2 after Lasee's 'No' vote.

As all 15 Wisconsin Democratic Senators are against the bill, Schultz' opposition makes a floor vote on the bill unlikely as it would lose 17-16.

Though many will see Schultz' opposition as a slap in the face of the bill's author, Sen. Glenn Grothman (West Bend), and Scott Walker, Schultz said his vote is based on his district's local officials' preference and the pro-voting history of the traditional Republican Party, as opposed to today's Republican Party that appears intent on controlling local communities.