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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Issue of the Week: The Return of Voter ID

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After years of failure in trying to address a problem that has been proven not to exist, the Republicans are trying to push yet another voter ID bill through the state Legislature. As the Shepherd has explained ever since the Republicans and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel alleged widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin elections, multiple investigations have turned up little evidence to support their claims. In fact, those investigations showed that when there are errors on Election Day, they are most likely to be clerical errors—such as the one reportedly committed by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who failed to include the city of Brookfield's vote tally in the county's results on election night.

Voter ID is simply a solution in search of a problem.

Nevertheless, Republicans still have their hearts set on requiring voter ID at the polls to reduce alleged voter fraud. Why? Because voter ID will make it harder for students, minorities, older folks and low-income voters to vote on Election Day. Republicans know that this will suppress the vote among those who traditionally support Democrats, thereby helping Republicans on Election Day.

The state Senate—without any Democratic support—has already acted on a voter ID requirement, choosing to vote on it when the Senate Democrats were in Illinois to slow down the vote on the collective bargaining bill. This week the Assembly will have its chance to debate the measure, which is said to be among the most restrictive in the country. If Republicans were really serious about the integrity of the vote, they would be demanding a thorough investigation of the voting irregularities in Waukesha County. “Losing” 14,000 votes is a very serious matter.

Event of the Week

Wisconsin Solidarity March for Immigrant and Worker Rights

Supporters of organized labor and immigrant-rights advocates will join forces on Sunday, May 1, to call for an end to the attack on all Wisconsin workers. Leading the call for social and economic justice will be national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz and other community leaders. Rain or shine, marchers will assemble at 1:30 p.m. at Fifth and Washington streets. At 2 p.m. they will head to Veterans Park for a 3 p.m. rally. For more information about the march and regional buses to Milwaukee, go to vdlf.org.

Heroes of the Week

Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee

There are scores of nonprofit organizations throughout Milwaukee who rely on volunteers to offer programs and services to the less fortunate in our community. Individuals willing to donate their time and unique skills to make a positive difference in the lives of others might be overwhelmed by the abundance of opportunities.

Enter the Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee, which describes itself as a “clearinghouse” that connects would-be volunteers with nonprofit agencies in need of help. Located at 2819 W. Highland Blvd., the Volunteer Center matches the skills and interests of both individuals and corporations with organizations working to improve the community.

Readers interested in finding volunteer opportunities are urged to visit the center's database at www.volunteermilwaukee.org or call the office at 414-273-7887.

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