MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (WI-1) has been in the news lately for dog-whistle racist comments about “inner city” culture. With Republican state legislators poised to pass new restrictions on early voting, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross questioned Ryan’s deafening silence on an issue that would have a profound impact on the ability of minority voters to have equal access to the franchise.
Ross commented, “Rep. Ryan has a choice, stand up for the rights of all Wisconsin voters, regardless of race, or by his silence become an accomplice to the real fraud in Wisconsin politics as his Republican state legislative colleagues manipulate the rules on voting to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage.”
According to state maintained voting records, Rep. Ryan has early voted in 16 of the last 21 elections since 2006.
The impact of the GOP proposed restriction on early voting would fall most heavily on urban areas and voters who are seniors, persons with disabilities and minorities.
The Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission has noted that the majority of early voters in the city are African-American.
For example, had the GOP’s proposed early voting restrictions been in place in 2012, when Ryan lost the state as the Republican candidate for Vice President, the City of Milwaukee would have had to process a voter every 9 seconds to meet the 45 hour weekly limit on early voting. Processing a vote in such little time would have been all but impossible, resulting in lines and delays that could have discouraged voter turnout.
Ross concluded, “Rep. Ryan has held a series of in-district town halls but has remained studiously silent on the latest, racist attacks on voting in Wisconsin. His inaction suggests he’s willing to write it off as an ‘inner city’ culture issue instead of the fraudulent assault on our democracy that it is.”