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 Common Council recently approved a measure that would place an advisory referendum question on continuing same-day voter registration on the April 2 spring general election ballot.
The measure, sponsored by Ald. Milele Coggs and co-sponsored by eight other council members, was approved by a 11 to 4 vote and will now go to Mayor Tom Barrett for his signature.
The eight co-sponsors were Aldermen Ashanti Hamilton, Robert Bauman, Willie Wide, Nik Kovac, Willie Hines, Jose Perez, Tony Zielinski and Joe Davis.
“I am pleased that the question of same-day registration will go before Milwaukee voters on April 2, because I truly believe that residents understand and appreciate how important it is,” Coggs said in a statement.
“Same day registration has been in place in the state of Wisconsin for the last 36 years (since 1974).
“There were more than 54,000 same day registrations in the city of Milwaukee for the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election. In Milwaukee, that represented nearly 20% of all voters, or one in five voters.”
Coggs said same day registration is extremely important for college students, and Milwaukee’s highest same day registration wards are those surrounding college and university campuses, particularly, UWM, Marquette and MSOE.
“Renters and people in poverty, often due to economic challenges, also are among those who most often utilize same day registration.
So the question is now up to voters, and I encourage everyone to get out and vote on April 2,” Coggs said.
Historic alliance will fight voter suppression with massive voter registration and education in churches across the country
(Baltimore, MD) – The NAACP today announced an historic partnership with the major African American Baptist Conventions to promote voter registration through the NAACP’s This Is My Vote! campaign. NAACP board members joined Baptist leaders at a press conference at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
“We are here today in the spirit of unity and common purpose to say that we will not allow our votes to be stolen,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “The NAACP and the black church have been partners in the struggle for justice, equality and fairness for more than 100 years. We will work together to defend the right to vote and at the same time empower our communities to vote in all of the 2012 elections.”
In the last year, more than 30 states introduced voter suppression laws that disproportionately impact African American voters. This partnership will combat these attacks and ensure high voter participation through coordinated registration, education, and Get Out the Vote efforts that will reach millions.
“From voter registration to voter education to voter protection, this powerful alliance will allow the African American Baptist Conventions to engage our congregations in the electoral process,” stated Dr. Julius Scruggs, National Baptist Convention President and member of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “With attacks on voting rights emerging in state after state, we must stand together to ensure that our voices are heard.”
Churches will receive voter registration training through the NAACP and conduct voter registration drives until the cutoff dates. Additionally, the NAACP will distribute alerts on changes in local voter laws; educate congregants on legislative matters that affect their communities; and ensure church-goers turn out to the polls and are protected on Election Day.
The gathered Baptist leaders included Dr. Julius Scruggs, National Baptist Convention President; Dr. Carroll Baltimore, president, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; Dr. Gregory K. Moss, Sr., president, Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention; and Dr. Stephen Thurston, president, National Baptist Convention of America. Dr. Nehemiah Davis, president, National Missionary Baptist Convention was not able to attend but his group has also committed to support the civic engagement efforts.
The NAACP leaders included Dr. Amos Brown, Immediate Past Chair of the Religious Affairs Committee on the NAACP National Board of Directors and Social Justice Chair of the National Baptist Convention; as well as Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, member of the Religious Affairs Committee.
“The NAACP has been dedicated to fighting voter suppression, and their steady work has borne fruit in states like Florida and Texas,” stated Thurston. “We are excited to partner with them to make it easier for church-goers around the country to participate on Election Day. Where there is unity, there is also strength.”
“As we take on this righteous cause, we should be encouraged by our historical successes,” stated Baltimore. “The NAACP and the black Baptist church have a long tradition of encouraging strong voter turnout, and we will continue that this year.”
“The Baptist tradition is dedicated to promoting social justice in all our communities,” stated Moss. “There is no greater embodiment of this responsibility than the battle for full participation in the democratic process. No matter what the laws are, our congregations must vote anyhow.”
“Many in this country would have us go backwards rather than forwards,” stated Barber, who is also chair of the Political Action and Legislative Committee on the NAACP National Board of Directors. “Besides the attack on voting rights, we have seen widening economic injustice and poverty, challenges to health care, and attacks on public education along with continuing disparities in the criminal justice system. That is why we are announcing a national day of voter registration and action on September 16th.”
“For over one hundred years the NAACP and the church have partnered to combat threats to our civil rights,” said Brown. “This year we intend to redouble those efforts and ensure all Americans have the right to vote.”
“This crucial partnership will make it easier for thousands of church-goers to participate on Election Day,” stated Rev. Nelson Rivers III, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations with the NAACP. “Our ability to fight injustice rests in our souls and is manifested in our actions. This year, the most important action we can take in the fight for justice is to exercise our right to vote.”