by Rommel Brown
This past July, Americans for Prosperity, a corporate-funded “Tea Party” group, sent a mass mailing to the 16th Assembly District in Milwaukee, a district which is heavily Democratic and has a large African American population.
The mailings were actually a test run by the Republican Party and their Tea Party cohorts to “cage” voters, particularly minorities and college students.
To “cage” a voter involves sending non-forwardable mail to minority voters, recording the pieces that were listed as undelivered, and using that list to intimidate minority voters on election day, cause long lines at the polls and create general confusion.
The tacting of “caging voters” is nothing new. Republicans have used all thypes of chicanery in their efforts to suppress the African American vote.
This shameful attempt to create confusuion and disrupt the lawful electoral process for thousands of minority and college voters was recently revealed in new tapes uncovered by the advocacy group One Wisconsin Now.
The tapes, which are acknowledged as authentic by Tea Party officials, perpetuate the Republicans’ unfounded claims of voter fraud in Milwaukee, despite evidence to the contrary from thie Repbulicans U.S. Attorney, the Milwaukee District Attorney, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, and the Republican-run Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Tim Dake of the extremist group The Grandsons of Liberty, has admitted that he is one of the voices heard in the tapes. Dake was reportedly taped at a Tea Party instruction session and, in the tapes, is heard to say that the Wisconsin Repbulican Party and its Chairman Reince Preibus were going to gartet voting lists of Blacks, Hispanics and college students. These lists were to be shared with the coporate-funded Americans For Prosperity Group, which is run out of West Allis by Mark Block. Block is no stranger to illegal campaign activity in the state of Wisconsin. He was reportedly fined $15,000 and banned from politics for three years stemming from similar misconduct in 1997.
Dake and others on the tape are reportedly heard complaining about “the minorities” and repeating the oft-discredited Republican theory of vter fraud by Blacks. Republicans fail to see the irony. The only fraud here is their “voter caging.”
“These dirty tricks by the Republicans, along with their corporate-backed Tea Party cronies, are upsetting, but unfortunately not surprising,” says Stephanie Findley, chair of the Black Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
“The African American community has a proud history of fighting to protect and preserve our rights in the face of efforts to silence our voice,” Findley added. “Every time the Republicans try to hold us down, we fight back with the power of our vote.”
Findley went on to say that the incident represents the latest insult to the African American community by Milwaukee County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker and state Repbublicans.