The desire by conservatives to limit some citizen’s ability to cast a ballot in Wisconsin is very unsettling. It is most appalling to watch play out.
I come to this issue the old-fashioned way, which I suspect in one way or another, is how most of my readers also approach this topic. My earliest memories about elections are not for any particular candidate or party. Instead, they are of Dad telling his family the importance of making sure we always went to the polls, along with the reason we have the right to select our leaders. He always took voting as most important. He was not a civics teacher but came home from World War II with the knowledge that our freedom came with responsibilities. It is a lesson I carry very close to me.
This past week there was another judicial slap-down to efforts of undermining the registrations of thousands of voters the Elections Commission determined likely had moved and therefore do not remain valid. That the Commission is playing partisan games with one of the foundations of our republic should make us all cringe, regardless of which party we call home.
No one needs to have more than a rudimentary appreciation of math to see what is happening. Removing voters from the rolls could have a significant effect on upcoming elections since major Wisconsin contests are often decided by one or two percentage points. Donald Trump, for example, won Wisconsin by only about 23,000 votes in 2016. Governor Tony Evers eked out a victory in 2018.
But more to the point than math comes the fact that nothing nefarious has been happening in our elections. There are no bands of people changing the outcomes due to voting more than once, or impersonating other voters, or living in one region and casting ballots elsewhere. Data supports the credibility of our elections. Every single election!
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is the driving force in the legal hunt for a way to remove names from the voting rolls. The partisan organization has as its mission, in this case, something that is most sinister to the requirements of a well-functioning republic. The only reason to see voting rolls purged and voters disenfranchised comes as a direct result of voting trends that do not favor the Republican Party.
Over and over we have seen efforts by Republicans to tinker with voting laws, or now with voting rolls. There is never an intent to in some way improve voting procedures, but rather to undermine the other party at election time. It troubles me greatly that limiting voter participation has become an accepted trait among conservatives. All Americans should be most peeved at this practice. I would like to think that some Republicans…somewhere… might understand the larger and nobler calling at making sure elections are open and accessible to all voters. I wish they would stand up to their party.
Enshrining any form of voter suppression into law is not the way Wisconsin’s proud history should be written. We have the means–through the courts–to roll back this tactic of partisanship that dangerously feeds on the very foundation of democratic ideals. In so doing we can again prove our state can lead the nation.