This story infuriates me!
Four guys in Racine voted. They were not in prison; they were released into their communities and considered safe to begin to rebuild their lives; they were working, raising families, paying taxes; they are US citizens. They did something civicly responsible, participated in the core of our democracy and made it stronger. They left their homes and made decisions that they were going to make Wisconsin stronger by participating in an election. This is something that on average 50% of Wisconsinites don't do and on that day in November 2006 around 70% of Wisconsinites did NOT bother to do. Did not find important enough, did not take time out of their day to do and were NOT civicly responsible.
But four guys who had made mistakes, paid for them with time out of their lives and were now trying to start over DID try to make a difference in the world around them.
Racine County is trying to send them to jail for the CRIME OF VOTING.
It's undemocratic, it's an outrage in a democracy and it doesn't happen in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and 17 other states around the country. In those states, people can vote upon release from prison. Not in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin we randomly PROSECUTE taxpayers for VOTING!!! The laws are clearly confusing and absolutely unnecessary. Designed during Reconstruction, Felon Disenfranchisement was purely a tactic to control the racial makeup of the electorate. The cornerstone of Jim Crow.
Yet, felons today although 50% people of color are also 50% NOT people of color (racial disparities and disparate impact are still an issue because people of color only make up about 5-10% of Wisconsin's population). Farmer's kids caught growing some weed outside their bedroom windows. Alcoholics who made the bad decision (while their thinking was already impaired) to drive. Scott Jensen.
They make up all walks of society in Wisconsin and can be found in every neighborhood trying to rebuild their lives after their mistakes. They have children in school and can't vote for the school board that will educate them?
How much does this insanity cost us? What harm is done to our democracy when people actually chose to participate in it?
The people in Racine County should be in the streets in protest demanding that their taxpayer dollars be spent prosecuting REAL criminals, not people who VOTED!
What kind of people are we? Who are we as Wisconsinites?
A few legislators in the Assembly have proposed AB390 to correct this massive injustice. They cannot even get the Republican Assembly leadership to schedule a hearing to discuss the issue.
Call Sheryl Albers and ask her to schedule that hearing.
The State Senate has yet to act.
This is the greatest crisis in our democracy today.
The injustice of Taxation Without Representation is the cornerstone of WHY American exists. It was a promise made to all of us by our founding fathers and one that the State of Wisconsin has broken.
This is NOT a partisan issue, it's an American issue.
It can be fixed. Make a call to your state legislators in the Assembly and Senate today and tell them it's time to bring this issue to the top of their priority lists (well, maybe right under Universal Healthcare).