Friday, May 31, 2013

Rep. Mandela Barnes on Jeff Stone’s Voter Suppression Bill: ‘Like a Civil War Reenactment’

By Lisa Kaiser
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Yet again another controversial Republican bill is flying through the Legislature at warp speed.

Last Friday, before the Memorial Day vacation, Greendale Rep. Jeff Stone began circulating his omnibus voter suppression bill, which, among other things, would reinstate the legally challenged voter ID requirement, open up loopholes for corporations sponsoring phony issue ads, shorten the amount of time for in-person absentee voting and micromanage election workers.

(You can get the gory details here.)

It’s scheduled for a committee hearing on Tuesday morning and a vote on Thursday.

One Wisconsin Now and allied organizations hosted a press conference earlier today to draw attention to Stone’s bill.

“It doesn’t even have an Assembly Bill number yet," said Rep. Jocasta Zamarripa, a member of the elections committing that will take up the bill on Tuesday. "This again speaks to the ram-rodding that goes on in the Capitol to push forth this kind of divisive political agenda when we’re 44th in the nation in job creation and we should be focusing on jobs. Instead, we’re trying to restrict Wisconsinites’ right to the ballot.”

Warp speed indeed.

Stone’s voter suppression package is so bad that Milwaukee Rep. Mandela Barnes said, “When we see bills like this that are constantly reintroduced, voter restriction bills, it’s like a Civil War reenactment. But some people don’t realize that the South actually lost.”

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross decried Stone’s hypocrisy. His voter suppression bill removes the ability for potential voters to use electronic records to prove their identity or residence. Yet Stone had co-authored a bill just two months ago that would allow drivers to use electronic records to prove that they had insurance coverage

“Shameful,” Ross said.

And about that “widespread voter fraud” boogeyman pushed by the Republicans as the justification for this bill?

“The only fraud in Wisconsin are partisan politicians like Jeff Stone manipulating the process for political gains,” Ross said.

 

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