Suppressing the Vote

  • Voting

Voting matters to the citizens of Wisconsin.  Here are two examples from my experience as a poll observer in a small community on election day, November 6, 2012.

A young man came to city hall to vote.   Unfortunately, he could not vote that day because he did not have the documents to prove his residency.  I spoke to him outside.  He was crying.  This young man worked at a community workshop.  His check was sent directly to the bank showing no address.  He did not have a checking account or any other documents proving his residency because he lived with someone else.

I gave him suggestions about what documents would be sufficient and asked him to go home and look for these.  He said he had to go to work and was afraid he would lose his job if he was late.  His shift ended after the polls closed.

An elderly woman had voted in this community before.  The poll workers knew her.  She had recently moved in with her sister who brought her to city hall.  She had no proof of residency and could not vote.  When I spoke with her in the hall, she, too, was crying.  She didn’t understand why she couldn’t vote because she had voted there before. We went over the types of documents required for proof of residency.  She didn’t have any of them. I explained to her the changes to voting put in place by Act 23, the Voter ID law signed by Governor Walker in 2011, that prevented her from voting.

One of the changes in Act 23 directly impacting the elderly woman was this:   Before 2011, her sister or the poll workers could have verified they knew her and she would have been allowed to vote. This is no longer acceptable.

Suppression of voting rights continues to grow across America. It is an attack on our rights; it is an attack on democracy.
Voting matters.  Take someone with you when you vote on Tuesday, April 1st.  Encourage others to vote.  Every election is crucial.