Legislatively Speaking – Remember to vote

By Senator, Lena C. Taylor

State Senator Lena C. Taylor

Speaking to the people in my district over the last couple weeks, I cannot help but be inspired by the widespread enthusiasm for voting on November 6th. As the Presidential and local elections come closer, even I have been surprised by the conviction I have seen. I mean, I have been pleasantly surprised! People know we have to be serious in this election. A lot of people see the coming election as a kind of turning point. The stories on the news have certainly helped give me that impression.

Never in my life have I seen such efforts to keep inner city people, especially Black people, from voting. I frankly cannot believe the stories. Undoubtedly, right-wing Tea Partiers like “True the Vote” will be visiting polling places in our neighborhoods. What right do they have? Of course, they only show up in Black-majority districts. They know they aren’t welcome, but they are coming just the same. Now, I think that trying to intimidate innocent voters is wrong and unconscionable, but these right-wing interlopers don’t seem to be bothered. What do you think their objective really is? I know I do not have to tell you.

We will NOT be intimidated.

And let’s not forget the ILLEGAL Voter ID law that the Republican legislature tried to use to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters. By the Lord’s intervention, I believe the Voter ID law will be overturned. Remember, it is NOT in effect for November! I am still deeply disappointed that we may have to worry about the law for future generations; Jim Crow is not as dead as some would claim.

When I talk to constituents of every race, color and creed, I hear great determination to vote. Nobody denies that November will change in this country’s history. One way or another, our lives will change. Whether we like it or not, each one of us has responsibility for the outcome.

Historically, turnout in Milwaukee has been lower than in the rest of Wisconsin. I understand why as much as anyone. Our city has always been well-served by business in Madison, but elections are our chance to turn that around. But how can we expect for anyone to pay attention if we skip the polls?

In the 2008 election, African American and Milwaukeean participation shattered records. I remember being excited, because we had turned a corner. Although one election cannot change the world on its own, we can’t expect to get the politics we need without standing up and making our voices heard.

Voting was and remains our chance to make a stand. We have a right, and we have a responsibility to stand up to the intimidation tactics and overcome the confusion of needless new election laws. We are better than that. We have a voice, and we have a choice. I urge you to remember to vote this November 6th. You have a chance to once again be a part of history, and you should not let it pass you by.