MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Rapids became the first city in the state to commence early voting yesterday as result of Federal Judge James Peterson’s decision in One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen. With numerous municipalities around Wisconsin ready to start early voting in the next week, One Wisconsin Institute applauded the actions of clerks who recognize the importance of giving voters access to the ballot box.
“This is a huge victory for Wisconsin voters,” said Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Institute. “We are thrilled municipalities across the state are moving forward in offering expanded in-person absentee voting hours to ensure all Wisconsinites are able to exercise their right to vote.”
Judge Peterson’s decision noted specifically attempts to restrict early voting and a prohibition on weekend voting were done to discriminate against legal voters. Peterson’s ruling was a victory for the rights of Wisconsin voters and a clear repudiation of the five-year crusade of Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature to rig the electoral process for partisan political gain.
Over the course of the two-week court trial held in May, testimony from a Republican insider revealed that, in their private deliberations, GOP state Senators were “giddy” over the prospects of passing a law they believed would discourage voting and help them win elections. The witness, under oath, testified that current Republican Senate President Mary Lazich urged her colleagues to consider the impact of voter ID on areas of the state that have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates, including the City of Milwaukee and the state’s college campuses.
Ross concluded, “The courts have struck down laws passed by partisan Republican politicians over the last five years intended to make it harder for certain voters to participate in elections. Our victory in court was a victory for democracy.”