Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske Demeans Political Process
When first hearing about the news from Green Bay concerning the actions of the city clerk and the upcoming election I simply did not believe it since I read about it on Facebook. I always want to double check most things I read there and it was only after seeking out a news site that I was left simply shaking my head.
Green Bay is the third largest city in our state and following the extremely long lines during the presidential primary a number of groups ranging from the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties and the Black Student Union made what to most was a common-sense request. They asked the city to simply place an early-voting location on campus to alleviate long lines. But for some odd reason–which is not so hidden now–city officials ignored the request and allowed only one early-voting site for the entire city! This would seem even to a middle grade student to be incredible.
The site for early voting was at the city clerk’s office which is a 15-minute drive from campus, and on top of that is open only during business hours. To somehow make a case for such antics City Clerk Kris Teske, who is an appointee of Green Bay’s Republican Mayor Jim Schmitt, who it should be noted is a close ally of Governor Walker, said the city didn’t have the money, time, or security to open an early-voting location on campus or anywhere else. For a conservative city government it is odd they have created such a dire local economy they do not have adequate funds for the most basic freedom citizens have–the right to elect their leaders.
We all know that Republicans in this state over the past few years have made it a mission to undermine the right to vote. S0 if you were like me upon hearing this news from Green Bay a first thought was that sinister GOP tactics were at work during this election. It is sad that we think of unsavory maneuvers when hearing such news but once again such thoughts proved to be correct.
Teske put in writing why she did not want to open the process of voting to as many people as possible–and her reason was partisan to the core. She wrote on August 26 in an e-mail to David Buerger, counsel at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission in part the following.
UWGB is a polling location for students and residents on Election Day but I feel by asking for this to be the site for early voting is encouraging the students to vote more than benefiting the city as a whole. I have heard it said that students lean more toward the democrats…. I have spoken with our Chief of Staff and others at City Hall and they agree that budget wise this isn’t going to happen. Do I have an argument about it being more of a benefit to the democrats?
Consider thatMadison opened recently 11 early voting locations, including at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College, and Milwaukee opened three sites, with a massive increase in hours from 2012. So many are using the early voting process in Madison that more volunteers are needed at city libraries–and that is a grand thing. It is a powerful sight to see our nation take seriously the huge responsibility of casting a vote.
The Green Bay City Clerk proved she is motivated by partisanship when creating a climate where student voters are limited in participating in the electoral process. It is not a legitimate concern of any city clerk about the partisan make-up of the voting base. Every clerk should fulfill the needs and requirements of the public local office. Teske has proven herself to be unfit for the job she holds and has allowed all to see the shallow end of the pool she plays in.
This is not the type of story that anyone–of any political stripe–can be proud of. After a year when so many have been turned off by the election it is really disturbing to see voters lose confidence in a local elected official. Voters do deserve better.