RACINE — Flanked by supporters with signs reading, “We need more people working, not less people voting,” local and state leaders spoke Thursday against several legislative proposals that they said would “rig the vote” for future elections.
With around 30 in attendance at the George Bray Neighborhood Center, 924 Center St., speakers focused on potential legislative issues including eliminating same-day voter registration, reintroducing state voter identification laws and changing how electoral votes are counted in Wisconsin.
“Every citizen should have the right to vote,” said state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine. “It just seems like such a basic statement that I can’t believe that we’re actually going to debate about it this year” in the Legislature.
According to Mason, changing laws like same-day registration and implementing voter ID measures makes it harder to ensure equal access to the polls. “It just smacks of a real lack of fairness,” he said.
Racine Mayor John Dickert also spoke Thursday, as well as Assistant City Clerk Donna Deuster, who spoke in favor of maintaining same-day voter registration.
Representatives from local progressive group Community for Change, the AFL-CIO union, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal investigative reporting outlet, also spoke. Most repeated the press conference’s core message to state political leaders: “We urge (Speaker of the Assembly Robin) Vos and (Gov. Scott) Walker to stop attacking democracy and focus on job creation now.”
That declaration came from Mike Wilder, a staff member for progressive Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which led the press conference Thursday and co-released a report on pending legislative initiatives along with the CMD.
The voting-related issues listed in the groups’ “Rig the Vote” report included several initiatives proposed by national and state Republican leaders. Some, like eliminating same-day voter registration, have since been all but dismissed by state leadership.
Vos responded Thursday: “Right now the Assembly is focused on job creation. The only groups that are bringing up these issues are special interest groups trying to raise money off of people’s fears.”
According to Vos, a Rochester-area Republican, measures like requiring photo ID are about protecting election integrity and ensuring voter confidence in the results.