EXCEPT WHERE INDICATED, THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE MILWAUKEE COURIER

State Republicans attack voting rights again

By Urban Media News

Last week, Republicans in Wisconsin put voting rights square in their cross hairs, passing restrictions to end early voting on weekends and pullback early voting hours during the week.

The move was Republican’s second successful attack on early voting since cutting the voting window in half in 2011.

The partisan bill has the pungent stench of partisan politics, a strategy aimed at keeping voters at home in order to win elections and remain in power.

Leaders all across the state including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett have panned the bill for it’s obvious intentions.

While Republicans argue their restrictions level the playing field for voters in rural areas their arguments of fairness breakdown when you compare 2012 early voting totals.

In an editorial featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mayor Barrett breaks down how the bill will affect Wisconsin communities.

Barrett writes “In 2012, in the city of West Bend, 4,245 people voted in person absentee in the presidential election.

With the proposed restriction limiting early voting to 90 hours in a two week period, West Bend would still have just about a minute and a half to work with each voter.

That seems pretty fair. Menasha would have almost two full minutes per voter.

Oconomowoc would have four minutes per voter. With the restriction to one site per municipality, and 36,349 early voters, the city of Milwaukee would have nine seconds per voter.”

Democratic leaders aren’t the only one’s stepping up to criticize the law.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Urban Milwaukee, Beloit Daily News, and the Appleton Post Crescent have all panned recent voter suppression efforts waged by Scott Walker and state Republicans.

The Journal Sentinel exposed the intent behind Senate Republicans maneuvers last week as “suppressing the Democratic vote in Milwaukee and Madison, where many of the state’s people of color live.

It’s a highly partisan bill that harks back to an era when voting was made much harder by strict poll laws for certain groups of people.

On that basis alone, Gov. Scott Walker should veto the bill.”

Walker should veto the bill, but the odds are very unlikely as the Governor exposed his own voter suppression agenda last week.

Adding to the assault on Wisconsin democracy, Scott Walker made it clear last week that he will call for a special session to pass Voter ID once it is deemed unconstitutional by federal court or the State Supreme Court.

Gov. Walker signed the Voter ID into law in May 2011 and it was almost immediately challenged in court.

Aside from an open admission that the law is unconstitutional, Walker’s prioritization of calling a special session to rewrite voting laws highlights his disinterest with actual governing versus non-stop electioneering.

Despite the “open for business” signs that littered the state after his election, Wisconsin has fallen from 11th to 37th in national job growth rankings since Scott Walker has taken office.

Republicans’ real focus seems to be getting reelected and holding on to power.

Even if winning comes at the expense of disenfranchising thousands of students, veterans, people of color, people with disabilities, and people with low-incomes.

Our political leaders shouldn’t be making it harder to vote in order to fix elections.

Winning fair and square on the merits of ideas is how elections should be done.

Instead of changing the rules of the game, Scott Walker and state Republicans should play fair and spend the last few weeks of the legislative session fixing real problems, putting their money where their mouth is, and working to improve the economic security of Wisconsin’s working class.