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January 23, 2019

12/14/2018 1:59:00 PM
Voter supression undemocratic

Dear Editor:
The day after the November elections Rep. Travis Tranel and his GOP leadership woke up to find that their party was swept in every statewide election, Yes, they were comforted in knowing that their lopsided majorities in the Assembly and Senate would remain thanks to gerrymandering, but Tranel and Vos (Assembly Speaker) asked themselves what could be done to combat the huge early voting turnout throughout the state. Tranel and Vos realized that the vast majority of the early voting took place in the high density urban centers like Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine which are Democratic strongholds. Tranel wasn't too concerned about the largest city in the 49th District (Platteville) having about 300 early ballots cast because..well.. Platteville isn't Milwaukee. While looking at their gerrymandered map of Wisconsin it came to them. They decided to suppress the vote even more before the next election cycle so that there will be less time for people to do absentee voting. Rep. Tranel could always argue that it wasn't fair that places like Hazel Green (2,000 pop.), where he votes, doesn't have the same time to vote early as does, say Milwaukee(500,000 pop). Never mind that fact that the waiting time for voting in Tranel's home town is--zero compared to a large urban center which is precisely why the urban centers have longer time to cast early ballots. If Tranel was so concerned about fairness he could have just said we should allow people in the 49th District to vote early like the urban areas. But fairness was not the reason Tranel voted to reduce absentee voting to two weeks before the next round of statewide elections in 2020. Voter suppression is the only way to accomplish statewide what gerrymandering has accomplished locally.
The conservative Republican Party of the 21st century has replaced the conservative southern Democratic Party of the 19th and 20th as the party of voter suppression and intimidation. I asked Rep. Tranel in a recent phone call if in his 8 years in the State Assembly he could name one bill proposed by a Democrat in the state legislature that tried to restrict people's right to vote. He couldn't. Only one Republican in the Assembly voted against the GOP power grab this past week and maybe it had something to do with the fact that Todd Novak in the 51st District only won last month by about 250 votes and he needs to show his voters that voter suppression is undemocratic.

Tom Osting

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