Legislatively Speaking – Voting is a right, not a crime!

By Senator, Lena C. Taylor

State Senator Lena C. Taylor

After so much waiting, the election just around the corner. And if I may be allowed one request, that would be VOTE. It is an honor and duty that generations have fought and even died for, from revolutionary soldiers to the heroes of the civil rights movement. This is a chance to have your voice counted and be included in the conversation. It is a chance to ENSURE that you are counted. I don’t need to tell you how important this election is for the future of this country.

The election will either push our nation forward or send us tumbling back in to the failed policies and mistakes of the past. Each and every American has a responsibility to help choose the next President of the United States. But here in Wisconsin, we also have the responsibility of choosing United States Representatives, a United States Senator, state senators and representatives.

At every level of government, every vote counts. YOU count. When you cast that vote, you are given a power over those who will be given the responsibility to pass and carry out every law, whether it be in the Department of Justice, Education, Health Care or the Department of Transportation. These new laws WILL affect you.

Thanks to the failure of many Governor Walker’s attempts at vote-suppressing initiatives, voting will be easier than ever on Election Day. Remember, you have to register before November 2 or wait until Election Day. To prove residence, bring a Wisconsin Driver License, a tax bill, a telephone service statement or a paycheck.

For a longer list of acceptable item, please call your Municipal Clerk (contact information can be found at (myvote.wi.gov) or the Government Accountability Board (gab.wi.gov/voters). And remember, you can show copies of any of items on your smartphone or computer screen!

Once you are registered, do not back down! Reports are already emerging of vigilante- like groups attempting to intimidate legitimate voters. We saw a few of these groups causing trouble during the Recall election. You may even have heard of the distasteful billboards taken down throughout Wisconsin.

The billboards claimed that voter fraud is a felony, but voting is a right, not a crime! In fact, it is even a sacred right, signifying so much more than it may at first seem. It signifies full citizenship and adulthood. It signifies mutual respect. I for one will not allow myself or my constituents to be pushed around. You may not see any voter intimidation, but if you do, speak up!

The U.S. Department of Justice is taking steps to ensure that every eligible voter is allowed to vote on Election Day. Any attempt at voter intimidation based on race, color, national origin or religion is illegal and immoral. You can file a complaint with the DOJ about voter intimidation by calling 1-800- 253-3931.

I would recommend saving this number in your cell phone and keeping an eye out for troublemakers. Remember, there is strength in numbers. Your friends and neighbors may depend on you to ensure they are being treated with dignity and that they are allow to exercise their most precious Constitutional right.