MADISON, Wis. — In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, One Wisconsin Now is requesting the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) send observers to Wisconsin for the November 2014 General Election. Federal DOJ election observers were previously in the state in 2012, and One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross cited recent law changes and the state GOP’s record of animus towards select groups of voters in requesting their presence again.
“Republicans in Wisconsin have intimidated legal voters in their neighborhoods, harassed legal voters in polling places and manipulated the rules on voting in pursuit of an unfair electoral advantage for themselves,” said Ross. “Sending federal observers for the November 2014 election makes clear that this behavior is not just un-American, it will no longer be tolerated.”
Among the examples of action taken by the GOP and aligned groups to create a climate of intimidation, Ross cited the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, underwriting billboards designed to intimidate low information voters in heavily minority population neighborhoods, the state Republican Party conspiring with other right-wing groups to conduct a voter-caging scheme, and election integrity watchdogs documenting cases of harassment and intimidation in polling places by partisan “observers.”
Beginning in 2011, the GOP’s efforts to gain electoral advantage moved to the statehouse as they used their newfound legislative majorities and control of the executive branch to manipulate the rules on voting. A voter ID law that could disenfranchise 300,000 legal state voters, currently enjoined by both federal and state courts, was passed despite there not being a single reported or prosecuted case of in-person voter impersonation. More recently, laws were adopted to eliminate weekend and restrict evening voting and to facilitate disruptive behavior in polling places by allowing partisan election observers to be as little as three feet away from poll workers.
He concluded, “The real voter fraud in Wisconsin today is being committed the Republican politicians manipulating the rules on voting and their partisan lackeys who attempt to carry out schemes to harass and intimidate targeted populations to keep them from voting. The people of Wisconsin have rejected these underhanded tactics in the past and with the help of the federal DOJ we can send a strong message that every legal voter will have the chance to cast their ballot and have their say in November 2014.”