Guest Post by Robert Best, Wisconsin Voter Registration Project
You have to risk your life to vote in Wisconsin.
Amazingly, a lot of people did yesterday.
The Republican-strangled Wisconsin legislature and state courts tried their best to turn yesterday’s primary into a debacle. In Milwaukee there are normally 180 polling places; yesterday there were 5.
The Evil Empire would not allow a delay or any loosening of absentee voting restrictions. No surprise, Brett and the boys on the US Supreme Court backed them up.
Yet, people showed up to vote.
One good thing ... this national embarrassment put a spotlight on the voting travesty that Wisconsin has become. The Republicans have gerrymandered the state so that the districts look like microchip circuits. Just registering to vote is mind-boggling difficult. I know. We worked with a volunteer team to register nearly 2,500 Wisconsin voters over the past 6 months. The state has thrown up every hurdle possible, convoluting the registration process to discourage people from even trying.
But, that’s only the first part of the obstacle course. On election day, voting is complicated and intentionally slow. The Republican strategy is directed at suppressing voters who are traditionally Democratic ... renters, students, poor people and anyone who lives in an urban area like Milwaukee.
But, there was a single beam of light yesterday, shining through from the heavens. People came out, some on crutches, some in wheelchairs, many with homemade masks. They stood in line, 6 feet apart, for hours to send a message to the bastards who don’t want them to vote.
Like the many brave people in the 1960s in the South, these people were willing to sacrifice their well-being ... to exercise the most basic right we have in a democracy. Think about that.
I don’t know if it will make a difference. The numbers are so overwhelmingly stacked against them that it’s hard to be optimistic. But they were out there, anyway.
Risking their lives to vote.
That’s a message for all of us.