Voter Suppression in Wisconsin

It used to be that if you wanted to do voter registration in Wisconsin you could get trained by the Government Accountability Board as a Special Registration Deputy(SRD), be assigned an SRD number, and then travel anywhere in Wisconsin to register voters. Not anymore.

The Voter Photo ID law stripped the GAB of any authority to train SRD’s and leaves it  in the hands of town and municipal clerks who, as a by product of the law, now have sole authority on these matters.

Some town and municipal clerks are very accommodating, such as Donna Austad in the city of Eau Claire, and Town of Washington Clerk Janelle Henning. Ms. Austad agreed to do an SRD training several weeks ago for roughly 25 of us who intend to canvass low income neighborhoods regarding the Badgercare expansion and minimum wage referendum questions on the Eau Claire County November ballot, and Ms. Henning agreed to honor that training and appointed ten of us as SRD’s in her township. But not every clerk is cooperative.

Meet Deb Grinde, Town of Brunswick clerk. Ms. Grinde has unilaterally decided that not only will she not honor our training from the City of Eau Claire, which borders the Town of Brunswick, she’s not going to appoint any SRD’s, period. So a town or municipal clerk now has the authority to stop dead in its tracks any voter registration drive that any organization or group of concerned citizens may want to mount in that jurisdiction.

When I pressed Ms. Grinde for a rationale behind her refusal to appoint any of us as SRD’s, she said she felt that voter registration information was already well publicized in the Town of Brunswick, in spite of the fact that the town has no website and, I’m told by a resident there, no newsletter.

This is, in my view, the kind of voter suppression the GOP was after when they passed the Voter Photo ID bill, and I think it’s a goddamned disgrace.

So do me a favor and call Deb Grinde at 1-715-834-7307 and tell her what you think, or send her an email at And then contact your legislator and tell them we need to change the law so that if qualified Wisconsin voters want to register their friends and neighbors to vote, a town or municipal clerk can’t stand in the way.


Milwaukee Voter Turn Out a Ridiculous 87 Per Cent!

Professional GOP apologist propagandist and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conservative favorite son, Christian Schneider, tossed off the following bit of jetsam in his analysis of Tuesday’s Presidential Election:

The City of Milwaukee had a ridiculous 87% turnout rate on Tuesday…

The only thing ridiculous about the Milwaukee turnout rate is the fact it wasn’t matched or exceeded by every ward in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee showed the way to democracy while the rest of the state sat on their thumbs. Shame on the rest of Wisconsin.

RwP: Panel Discussion Part 2 “Voter Suppression”

Part 2 of Rants Without Pants panel discussion where we debate “Voter
Suppression”. I call this segment “The Stacy Harbaugh Show” because
Stacy from the ACLU of WI kicks butt in this segment.

The panel consists of Stacy Harbaugh (Communications Director for the
American Civil Liberties Union of WI), Dusty Weis (Former CBS Reporter
for WTDY and WIOD), BJ Buss (Compassionate Conservative) and Michael
Grover Bartnik (Non-Ideological Guy in Hat). There will be 4 Parts.

Next topic, “Media Coverage” (Part 3), will be posted in a few days.

For more videos, please visit

State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Voter ID Cases

Both cases have been kicked back to the appellate court for review.

The state Supreme Court today refused to take up two lawsuits challenging the state’s voter ID law.

The court of appeals had asked the justices to directly take the cases that resulted in two Dane County judges issuing injunctions preventing enforcement of the requirement that voters show a state-issued ID at the polls before casting ballots. In both cases, the Department of Justice has appealed those injunctions.

The justices offered no comment on their decision in the separate one-page orders issued today in the suits filed by the League of Women Voters and the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP.

The appellate court will just have to do it’s job, I guess.  Attorney General Van Hollen’s office issued the following statement:

“We are surprised and disappointed,” said Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for Van Hollen. “We continue to believe that prompt action is required by an appellate court, and we’ll continue to pursue this matter in the Court of Appeals.”

If you can’t stop ’em at the polls, just keep ’em from registering!

Florida is experiencing the effect of a draconian GOP-sponsored law that imposes severe penalties on organizations that fail to meet strict voter registration guidelines.  The outcome is record low new voter registration.

The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.

Several Florida counties are reporting that

new registrations dropped sharply in some areas where the voting-age population has been growing, the analysis found, including Miami-Dade County, where they fell by 39 percent, and Orange County, where they fell by a little more than a fifth. Some local elections officials said that the lack of registration drives by outside groups has been a factor in the decline.

Similar laws in other states have had similar effects.

The law in Florida, which is among the strictest in the nation, is similar to one New Mexico passed in 2005, which also imposes penalties for failing to meet a 48-hour deadline for handing in forms. Civic groups challenged the New Mexico law in court and lost. Since the law passed, census data shows, the percentage of New Mexicans who are registered has fallen.

The GOP has become the party that fears the voters.  Overwhelmed by the emerging demographics, the only way Republicans can maintain any semblance of a majority is to disenfranchise the young, college students, the elderly, African-Americans and hispanics.  They’re accomplishing this through so-called voter ID laws and voter registration restrictions.  It’s pathetic.

BREAKING: Injunction Issued Against Wisconsin Voter ID Law


A Dane County Judge on Tuesday granted a temporary injunction that bars the enforcement of the state photo ID law at polling places during the general election on April 3.

Circuit Judge David Flanagan said that the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera had demonstrated that their lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker and the state Government Accountability Board would probably succeed on its merits and had demonstrated the likelihood of irreparable harm if the photo ID law is allowed to stand.


Voter ID at the DMV – here’s how Republicans want things to be in 2012

From YouTube user “madtowngirl2” comes this footage of her son trying to get a voter ID at a DMV office in Madison.

This is exactly the kind of difficulty and confusion Republicans want as folks head to their local DMV officers to get voter IDs in advance of the 2012 elections, because this kind of thing will certainly discourage those folks who’ll need voter IDs the most – students, the elderly, and minorities – three groups who also happen to vote heavily Democratic.

And to add insult to injury, Gov. Scott Walker has ordered the closing of 10 DMV service centers in areas that tend to vote Democratic, with new DMV service centers to be opened in areas that tend to vote Republican. Coincidence? I think not.

What we’re seeing here is the culmination of years of work on the part of conservatives to first convince citizens of “widespread vote fraud” where none existed just so they could then justify their blatant efforts to make it harder for Democratic voters to get out and cast their votes.