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Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011

Issue of the Week: Voting Rights Attacked—Again

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How low will the Republicans go to hang on to their power?

First they busted public employee unions in an effort to hamper their political advocacy work.

Then they passed one of the most repressive voter ID laws in the country, even though voter fraud hasn't been a problem in Wisconsin elections.

Then they ran fake Democrats in this summer's recall elections as a stalling tactic, in case they lost their majority in the state Senate.

And to add insult to injury, they passed a wholly partisan redistricting map that marginalizes Democrats and ensures Republicans will keep their lock on power for the next decade.

And now Republicans are going even further to destroy Wisconsin's history as a moderate swing state with fair elections.

One tactic is to destroy the independence of the Government Accountability Board (GAB), which was created with bipartisan legislative support to remove any sort of political bias in the administration of the state's elections.

Republicans are upset that the GAB isn't just rolling over and allowing new voting rules to disenfranchise large groups of voters—namely, students. Nor are they happy that the GAB logically wants to bring the circulation of petitions into the technology era. So now Republicans want the GAB to submit their proposed rules formally, which means they would go to the governor first. That means that Gov. Scott Walker could potentially oversee rules that would affect his expected recall next year.

Republicans also are trying to rig the legislative map for next year's potential recall elections. If some of their senators are recalled along with Walker, Republicans want to use their biased, Republican-friendly map rather than the current map for those recall elections.

Other anti-voter proposals on the table? State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to end the requirement that individuals who donate more than $100 to a campaign disclose their employer.

State Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) wants to split up Wisconsin's electoral votes so that the Republican candidate for president would be ensured of at least five votes from Wisconsin next fall, one from each of the five Republican-held congressional districts.

Wisconsinites are sick of these games. We want our elected officials to ensure the integrity of our elections. We don't want grown-up frat boys treating the state Capitol like Animal House.

Heroes of the Week
: Share Wisconsin Volunteers

With unemployment staying stubbornly high, many Milwaukeeans are finding it more and more difficult to get proper meals. Share Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that offers reduced-cost food through a volunteer-run, community distribution system. Every month, more than 1,000 volunteers donate their time to help nearly 8,000 families save up to 50% on their food bills.

The group purchases food on the wholesale market, but Share Wisconsin tries to buy available produce from local farmers whenever possible. Individuals, businesses, churches and social service groups regularly avail themselves of Share Wisconsin's dinner packages, which can be distributed to shelters or directly to families in need. A complete Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner Package for a family of six costs $30. Readers who wish to volunteer in Share Wisconsin's warehouse (13111 W. Silver Spring Drive) or at one of the many distribution sites are urged to visit www.sharewi.org or call the volunteer coordinator at 1-800-548-2124.

Event of the Week
: Citizen Action of Wisconsin Micro-Brew Fund-Raiser

Support Citizen Action of Wisconsin by attending its third annual micro-brew fund-raiser on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 5-8 p.m., at 2525 S. Shore Drive. Citizen Action advocates for good jobs, social justice and health care reform that benefits Wisconsin residents, not special interests. For more information, go to www.citizenactionwi.org.