An Open Letter from One Wisconsin Now to Rep. Sean Duffy
"To be clear, we support free and fair elections. We think most people in the real world do. The question is, Rep. Duffy, do you?"
In a recent television appearance, U.S. Representative Sean Duffy attempted some humor at the expense of the City of Madison and Dane County, not exactly an original thing to do for a Wisconsin Republican politician attempting to score some cheap political points.
While Rep. Duffy is free to try his stand up routine on the Fox News comedy network, as residents of Dane County and working for an organization committed to protecting and expanding voting rights, his allegation that we, “don’t believe in democracy and freedom and free elections,” is no laughing matter.
To be clear, we support free and fair elections. We think most people in the real world do. The question is, Rep. Duffy, do you?
The federal voting rights lawsuit, One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, et. al., found numerous measures adopted by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature were intended to keep targeted groups of voters away from the polls and were struck down for running afoul of the U.S. Constitution and federal voting rights protections.
As a result, the City of Madison took initiative, implementing expanded early voting hours, including evenings and weekends, and turning public libraries across the city into polling locations.
They made voting easier and more convenient. And the result of giving voters the opportunity to participate in their democracy is that they did, with turnout rates higher than much of the rest of state which did not have local officials who found a way to say yes to more access to the franchise.
Now Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is ominously suggesting that the legislature will seek to crack down on municipalities offering more hours for voting at more locations instead of helping to expand early voting everywhere in Wisconsin.
Surely you strongly denounce Rep. Vos’ efforts to stymie democracy, right, Rep. Duffy?
What about the case of Ruthelle Frank? She is from the Wausau area, a town clerk and a legal voter who cast a ballot in every election since 1948, and was faced with being denied the franchise because of the strict state voter ID law.
Rep. Duffy’s response? Cue the crickets.
Elections are the one time in this country every legal voter gets an equal say – rich or poor, old or young, rural or urban citizen.
Is there fraud in our elections, undermining our democracy? Not on the part of voters. But you bet there are frauds, like Rep. Duffy, who claim to champion freedom and democracy, but instead support measures that rig the rules on voting to try to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage.
These attacks that deny legal voters their voice are un-American. And Rep. Duffy aiding and abetting it with his silence is no laughing matter.
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