Group wants Justice Dept. to send election observers to Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gazette

The progressive group One Wisconsin Now has asked the U.S. Justice Department to send election observers to Wisconsin for the November general election.

The group wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, noting that election observers were in the state in 2012.

One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross, in the request to the attorney general, said recent changes to state law and the state GOP’s “record of animus” toward select types of voters make it necessary to again dispatch election observers. 

“Republicans in Wisconsin have intimidated legal voters in their neighborhoods, harassed legal voters in polling places and manipulated the rules on voting in pursuit of an unfair electoral advantage for themselves,” Ross said. “Sending federal observers for the November 2014 election makes clear that this behavior is not just un-American, it will no longer be tolerated.” 

Ross said:

• The Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, underwrote billboards designed to intimidate voters in heavily minority population neighborhoods.

• The state Republican Party conspired with right-wing organizations to conduct a voter-caging scheme.

• Election watchdogs documented cases of harassment and intimidation in polling places by so-called partisan “observers.” 

One Wisconsin Now also said the state GOP, beginning in 2011, used its legislative majorities and control of the executive branch to “manipulate the rules on voting,” including passage of a voter ID law that, if put into effect, could disenfranchise 300,000 legal state voters. More recently, the governor has signed measures to eliminate weekend and restrict evening voting. 

Wrote Ross, “The real voter fraud in Wisconsin today is being committed the Republican politicians manipulating the rules on voting and their partisan lackeys who attempt to carry out schemes to harass and intimidate targeted populations to keep them from voting. The people of Wisconsin have rejected these underhanded tactics in the past and with the help of the federal DOJ we can send a strong message that every legal voter will have the chance to cast their ballot and have their say in November 2014.”