When it comes to voting rights, Wis Republicans seem to know no bottom -- and here's the latest buttinsky | WisCommunity

When it comes to voting rights, Wis Republicans seem to know no bottom -- and here's the latest buttinsky

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is sending out a new warning to citizens who are concerned about the quality, openness and integrity of our elections. And it comes down to this (my words, not the League's):

If you have cringed at the finagling and meddling that Wisconsin Republicans already have achieved with respect to elections and voting rights, you're going to have to cringe some more.

Forewarned is forearmed. From a new League of Women's Voters email dispatch:

Sen. Glenn Grothman is circulating drafts of three new election-related proposals in the state Capitol. One would severely restrict hours for early (in-person absentee) voting in your clerk's office. The legislation would allow local clerks to offer early voting for no more than 24 hours a week, during business hours, for a two-week period prior to an election.

Another proposal would reduce the information available to voters about campaign contributions. It would increase from $100 to $500 the level at which contributors have to disclose their primary place of employment. Voters deserve to know if a business or organization is contributing "anonymously" to campaigns through its employees.

The third proposal deals with voting in nursing homes and other residential facilities. The League is still researching this one, before taking a position. Like the early voting proposal, this legislation appears to allow only two observers, who are representatives of political parties, to monitor the voting.

The legislator who once again is here from the Capitol to "help" you vote is the same West Bend Republican who last year sponsored a successful measure to discontinue voter registration services at public, private and tribal high schools statewide.

After all, we wouldn't want to have our coming-of-age students, including native Americans, getting involved with elections now, would we? They can damn well find the municipal clerk's office on their own, if they're so inclined! In Grothman's evident view of things, election officials needn't make that whole voting thing so convenient. Why, you might actually think elections are important, or something.

But even if that happens and even if citizens jump through all those GOP hoops and manage to exercise the vote despite shorter polling hours and greater limits on absentee balloting, why, then there's always the GOP's last firewall against possible electoral defeat: badly  gerrymandered state legislative districts, which last election ensured in this and a growing number of other states that state Republicans would control the legislature despite getting thousands fewer votes overall than Democrats.

After all, why would a thoughtful, ethical politician want to design legislative districts so they actually reflected the will of the voters instead of the needs of his or her own political party?

Meanwhile, if you're a lower or middle class citizen struggling with life, why would you go out and vote early? Because you work two jobs and have kids at home and it's hard to vote on a workday, that's why. So, really now, why do Republicans like Grothman think it'd be swell to restrict early voting drastically and make it only possible during ... business hours?! I mean, do they think your bosses will give you time off with pay to vote early? What a concept! That'll so help. The. Republican. Party.

If you get past all the above barriers, then you likely will still go into the voting both knowing less than you should about the candidates and who is funding their claim to power, since Grothman appears determined to make campaign finance regulation less transparent -- but only, in this particular case, to the extent that involves contributions coming from the direction of private businesses.

Grothman has some peculiar ideas but chief among them is, apparently, the idea that it's just too dang easy for citizens to vote, especially when they in that general category of citizen that tends not to vote Republican. So much for free speech and libertarianism.

Grothman's latest legislative measure is nothing less than another step forward in a relentless GOP march that if not checked will kill democracy via a thousand tiny but very sharp cuts. These Repubs are authoritarians who think you should have as much freedom as possible, unless it's the freedom to get in their way. Sing it, Glenn: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose...!"

Stay tuned and stay active. Don't let them take away your right to vote, or soon there won't be anything at all worth your vote. And that would be very bad, even for (although they seem clueless about it) Republicans.


July 30, 2013 - 2:57pm