MADISON, Wis. — The results of five years of manipulation of election laws by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature was realized yesterday with numerous media reports of legal voters in municipalities across the state, especially on or near college campuses, being forced to wait in hours long lines to cast their ballots. With voter turnout below 50 percent, One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross, whose organization is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the GOP’s partisan efforts to gain an electoral advantage, raised concerns about even worse delays in a higher turnout in the November 2016 Presidential Election.
“The point of Gov. Walker and the Republicans legislative efforts was to manipulate the rules to make it more complicated and less convenient to vote and discourage those least likely to support them from showing up at the polls. With hours long lines, it appears their despicable strategy was working yesterday,” said One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross.
Media reports on election day noted long lines to vote in a primary election in which turnout did not reach 50 percent. It appears polling locations with high percentages of students were especially hard hit with delays caused by the new voter ID law and the special conditions placed on the use of a student ID.
Ross added, “If voters had to wait in line for hours with a turnout of less than 50 percent, what can we expect in November when hundreds of thousands more voters show up?”
A lawsuit brought by One Wisconsin Institute and other voter rights advocates, filed in federal court in Madison, outlined more than a dozen policies that have made voting in Wisconsin more challenging for eligible citizens and seeks to strike down various restrictive voting measures put in place by Walker and the Republican State Legislature since 2011. The Institute has also set up a web page, “My Voting Story”, for people to share their stories about any problems they may have had in casting their ballot.
He concluded, “The only fraud in Wisconsin elections has been proven: Gov. Walker and the Republican state legislature changed the laws for partisan, political gain. While we will be in court in May to try to overturn Gov. Walker’s attacks on the franchise, nothing can restore the votes of those legal voters who are denied the most fundamental right in our democracy: the right to vote.”