Wisconsin Voter Participation Advocates File Suit to Protect Wisconsinites’ Right to Vote

MADISON, Wis. — Today, eight plaintiffs – all groups or individuals that advocate for improved voter participation – filed a lawsuit against members and staff of the Government Accountability Board to protect Wisconsinites’ right to vote.

The suit, filed in federal court in Madison, seeks to strike down various restrictive voting measures put in place by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican State Legislature since 2011, as well as a law that limits municipalities to a single location for early voting.

“We have fought Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislature throughout their unrelenting assault on the right to vote in Wisconsin and as long as they continue down this path, we will be there to fight,” Executive Director of One Wisconsin Institute Scot Ross said.

The complaint outlines more than a dozen policies that have made voting in Wisconsin more challenging for eligible citizens, including turning back progress around early voting, creating additional obstacles for voter registration, and passing a law that enables intrusive and intimidating election monitoring. The complaint also brings new challenges to the voter ID law.

Anita Johnson, an organizer for Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, said, “We have many things to worry about in Wisconsin—jobs, wages, education, transportation, and health insurance. We should not have to worry about our rights at the polls being blocked.”

“Time and time again it’s been proven that the real fraud in Wisconsin is partisan politicians like Gov. Walker manipulating the laws for their personal political gain,” Ross said.

Today’s complaint makes clear that the restrictions on voting passed since 2011 have aimed to suppress the turnout of African-American, Latino, and young voters, who tend to vote Democratic, in hopes of influencing elections to favor Republicans.

Even former Republican Majority Leader Dale Schultz said of his own party: “It’s just, I think, sad when a political party – my political party – has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics…we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at our voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.”

The plaintiffs, who are represented by Perkins Coie LLP, include: One Wisconsin Institute, Inc.; Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, Inc.; Renee M. Gagner; Anita Johnson; Cody R. Nelson; Jennifer S. Tasse; Scott T. Trindl; and Michael R. Wilder.

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