Voters say “NO!” to ending same-day voter registration at the polls Tuesday
Compiled by MCJ Staff
Milwaukee voters said “No Way” to ending same day voter registration at the polls on election day, highlighting Tuesday’s elections for Milwaukee County Board and Circuit Court, Milwaukee School Board, state Supreme Court, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The advisory referendum on same-day voter registration won by an overwhelming margin of 73 percent (29,229 total votes out of the 97 percent of the polling places reporting in). Only 27 percent (11,075 total votes) voted to abolish the state law.
The overwhelming passage of the referendum was credited to community and faith-based organizations working throughout the winter and spring months to educate voters on the importance of keeping same-day registration intact.
The referendum’s approval sends a message to opponents of same-day registration (the majority of whom are state Republicans) who base their assault on voting rights on the false belief it promotes voting impropriety.
“Voters have spoken and their message is clear, they want their right to vote protected,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now.
One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.
“Voting is our civic duty and the time that everyone, rich or poor, young or old, has an equal say in the direction of our communities,” Ross continued in a press statement by his organization.
“The results of this referendum send a clear message to state lawmakers in Madison that Milwaukee voters not only value the ability to register to vote on Election Day, but they also see it as a part of their fundamental rights,” said Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs.
“I hope legislators take heed of this, as well as the financial costs that would be associated with ending same-day registration, and end their pursuit of this wrong-headed policy change,” Coggs said.
Two vacant Milwaukee County Board of Supervisor seats were filled Tuesday. One of those two seats was won by African American Khalif Rainey, who defeated Ravae Sinclair, an assistant state public defender.
Rainey, who is an aide to U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, will fill the District Two board seat vacated by Nikiya Harris, who stepped down after winning her state Senate Seat last November.
Rainey garnered 62% of the vote (1,790) to Sinclair’s 38% (1,105 votes).
There were two vacant Milwaukee School Board seats filled as well. UW-Milwaukee instructor Tatiana Joseph (938 votes) defeated former Milwaukee Alderman Angel Sanchez (564 votes). She will replace Board Director Peter Blewett, who did not seek reelection.
Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Bradley, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Scott Walker, defeated challenger Janet Protasiewicz, an assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney. Bradley garnered 54 percent (52,131 votes) to Protasiewicz’s 46 percent (44,668).
It was a cakewalk win for another incumbent in a statewide race. Tony Evers easily retained his position as state Superintendent of Public Instruction, defeating challenger Don Pridemore.
Evers garnered 61 percent of the vote (473,781). Pridemore, who is a Republican state legislator, received 39 percent of the vote (299,995).
In the race for state Supreme Court, incumbent justice Patience (Peggy) Roggensack retained her high-court seat, defeating Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone.
Roggensack received 455,074 votes (57 percent) to Fallone’s 339,247 (43 percent). Her win preserves the conservative majority on the court.
The Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera should be congratulated for their efforts resulting in a state Circuit Court judge placing a permanent injunction against Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law, which stops the law from taking effect.
In his decision, Flanagan reportedly said the law was “not sufficiently narrow to avoid needless and significant impairment of the right to vote.”
We think Richard Saks, an attorney working with both civil rights organizations against the ID law said it best during a news conference Tuesday at the NAACP headquarters announcing the victory: “To those 300,000 voters to have to spend $20 or $40, or eight or 10 or 12 hours to get a photo ID, that’s what the judge found to be an unreasonable voter’s burden.”
If the decision is upheld at the state Supreme Court level, voters won’t be incumbered by this modern day version of the “poll tax” in the upcoming August 14 election and–hopefully–the presidential election in November.
Through his work on this ruling, as well as pro-active initiatives focusing on unemployment, police conduct, education and the need to develop new visionary leaders for the future, Milwaukee NAACP Branch President James Hall has made the organization relevant again for Black Milwaukeeans.
Hall has kept the promise he made when he was running for the position to make the NAACP in Milwaukee the go-to civil rights organization in the city. The branch is a reflection of what we see as a renaissance of the national organization under the leadership of Benjamin Jealous.
The NAACP’s partnership with Voces de la Frontera points to another seachange: The necessary joining of Black and Latino civil rights organizations to protect and defend the rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We hope this partnership will continue and spark other ethnic organizations to do the same for not only the protection of civil rights, but the creation of economic opportunities that will be beneficial for everyone involved regardless of race.
Those who doubt alliances between different ethnic groups are possible should look back on Tuesday on what the NAACP and Voces accomplished; working together to protect the most precious right an American can have…the right to vote!