MILWAUKEE – All Voting is Local Wisconsin and the ACLU of Wisconsin today released a Ballots for All Toolkit that supplements their recently released report “Ballots for All: Ensuring Eligible Wisconsin Voters in Jail Have Equal Access to the Ballot”. The toolkit offers voting advocates strategies for urging county officials to adopt policies so every eligible voter in jail can vote.
Our democracy works best when all eligible voters participate. The fundamental right to vote is central to the full and equal participation of people in America. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, it is critical that all eligible voters have a say in who represents our interests. Every vote matters. Unfortunately, too many eligible voters face needless and discriminatory barriers that limit this right. This is particularly true of eligible voters in Wisconsin county jails.
The spread of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities in the United States. While much of the policy discussion has rightly focused on COVID-19’s impact on the health and economic well-being of communities of color, decision makers must also urgently confront how the pandemic is silencing voters of color and harming our democracy.
Legislators and state and county election officials have a responsibility to protect the right to vote and to ensure that policies and operational decisions do not prevent or discourage voters from casting a ballot.
An analysis of voting data from 2018 reveals troubling trends in low turnout, provisional ballot rejection and registration problems. But these barriers are not insurmountable. All Voting is Local together with students and community partners, propose a robust and sustained investment in voter education and poll worker recruitment and training to solve these problems so all students can cast a ballot that counts.
In 2018, Franklin County voters cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots compared to their percentage of the state electorate. Our report examines the reasons behind this and makes recommendations to prevent it from happening again.