MILWAUKEE – Today, Supervisors Felesia A. Martin, Willie Johnson Jr., Ryan Clancy, Steven Shea, and Peter Burgelis announce the introduction of legislation in support of nonpartisan election administration in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
“This past Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that ballot drop boxes are illegal under Wisconsin statutes, a disastrous decision that will have far-reaching impacts on the voting rights of all Wisconsinites.
“Drop boxes provide a secure, convenient means of returning a ballot for millions of Wisconsin voters. For voters with disabilities or mobility issues, returning a ballot on their own may not be physically possible. Plainly stated: This ruling will severely restrict the ability of thousands of Wisconsin voters to participate in elections and fulfill their civic duty.
“The use of ballot drop boxes is also central to the success of our elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some voters may feel comfortable heading to vote on Election Day or returning their ballot in person, the elderly, immunocompromised, and many others should not have to risk their health and livelihood to exercise their right to vote.
“This ruling strikes at the heart of Milwaukee County’s mission to achieve race and health equity. We know that decisions that restrict access to the ballot box have a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown voters. As Milwaukee County is home to the state’s largest communities of Black and Brown residents, once again our residents will bear the brunt of an errant ruling. This decision is an attack on safe, equitable, and effective election administration across Wisconsin – in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay, yes, but also in rural communities throughout the state where election administration can be difficult and costly.
“As such, today, we are introducing legislation in support of democracy and nonpartisan election administration in Wisconsin. The right to vote is among our most sacred rights, the bedrock of a thriving democracy. Efforts to erode this most basic right, whether legislative or judicial, reflect a deep contempt for the people hidden behind a thin veneer of manufactured concern for imagined fraud. Our election administrators, in Milwaukee and elsewhere, face ongoing challenges and an increasingly tumultuous working environment. We must stand strong against threats of violence and reprisal aimed at election administrators, and we must condemn continued attempts to discredit the validity of our elections, to spread misinformation, and to overturn the results of free, fair elections.”
The resolution in support of democracy and nonpartisan election administration will be heard at the Friday, July 15 meeting of the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and General Services Committee.