FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2018
MILWAUKEE–In 2011, Wisconsin lawmakers passed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, but, since then, haven’t taken meaningful steps to educate voters on how to comply with the law. All Voting is Local is filling that void by launching today a voter education campaign to arm residents with information to ensure their voices are heard on Election Day.
“This severe ID law and the state’s failure to educate voters create burdensome obstacles to the ballot that are a threat to our democracy,” said Molly McGrath, Wisconsin State Director of All Voting is Local. “We’re empowering communities with critical information so voters are prepared to go to the polls and be counted.”
The multimedia campaign, “Together We Vote” focuses on voters in Milwaukee, Dane and several other Wisconsin counties with billboards, radio, digital and bus ads; a direct mailing; and volunteer canvassers talking to voters. The campaign encourages people to vote with messages invoking civic pride and leaving a legacy, and features photographs of Milwaukee residents. The ads include the number for a statewide hotline that helps voters obtain proper ID to vote. An accompanying website at https://togetherwevote.org/ directs voters to the objectives of the campaign:
- Educating voters about the proper identification needed to vote, to minimize confusion caused by the law.
- Informing people with prior felony convictions that their voting rights are automatically restored once they have fully completed their sentence and all parole, known as “off paper.”
- Notifying voters of early vote locations, so that they can cast a ballot when it is most convenient for them, in spite of work and family obligations.
- Step-by-step guidance for verifying voter registration.
- Providing a network of volunteers across the state to provide one-on-one assistance to voters who need an ID or help voting.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law kept at least 16,800 people in Milwaukee and Dane counties from casting ballots in 2016, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The requirement most affected low-income and African-American voters.
While voters were deterred from polling places because they lacked the proper identification, many voters actually had appropriate ID, but incorrectly assumed it wouldn’t be accepted. Voter turnout in Milwaukee decreased by 41,000 votes from 2012 to 2016, and the campaign is focused on communities where that turnout decreased the most.
“Voter suppression is alive and well in Wisconsin,” said McGrath. “We will continue to work together to simplify the voting process, to dispel myths about voting rights for people with felony convictions and to fight to protect and expand the right to vote for all citizens, regardless of where they live, work or if they lack ID.”
Together We Vote is supported by statewide partners including the ACLU of Wisconsin, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin NAACP and the Dane County Clerk’s Office.
For more information, please visit https://togetherwevote.org/.
All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law