Board Could Fund Voter Education, Registration
Initiative for 2022 would be similar to past outreach effort for 2020 election.
The Milwaukee County Board is moving to provide funding for voter outreach and education.
The board’s Finance Committee approved $50,000 in funding for voter registration and outreach efforts to include a marketing campaign, a National Voter Registration Day event and voter registration kiosks with the goal of increasing turnout for the 2022 election.
The resolution would transfer the funds to the Office of the County Clerk “It’ll strengthen our efforts to educate Milwaukee County residents on the voting process and voter registration.” Nicholson, speaking to the Finance Committee, said the board provided funding in 2020 “for the same purposes.”
“I did coordinate with the county clerk, we came to an agreement on this particular amount and they are in support of this resolution,” Nicholson said.
The 2020 budget, finalized in November 2019, provided $50,000 for voter outreach and registration efforts. Then, in January 2020, the board allocated another $50,000 toward the effort, bringing the total to $100,000, after a judge in Ozaukee County ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to purge the voter rolls of more than 200,000 voter registrations flagged by the system for voters that may have moved since the last election.
A drawn-out legal battle ensued that culminated in 2021 when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that it was not the state’s duty to remove the names in question from the voter rolls.
The clerk’s office also collaborated with the City of Milwaukee to place voter registration kiosks throughout the city and county at various public buildings and hold a voter registration event on National Voter Registration Day ( Sept. 22). The latter effort, in partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers, was a registration drive-thru at Miller Park that registered 130 citizens to vote in a span of four hours, according to the clerk’s office.
Nicholson told the board the $50,000 would fund a similar marketing campaign and registration kiosks for the 2022 election. The clerk’s office will also have to report to the board by March 2023 on how the funds were spent.
The resolution will go before the full board for approval this week.
It faced opposition from one member of the Finance Committee Thursday. Sup. Steve Taylor said he didn’t support the measure in part because the funding was coming out of the county’s contingency account – withdrawals from which have been a source of debate among board members because the county is on track to spend more in 2022 than was budgeted.
Taylor also pointed to a specific section of the resolution and said he didn’t support the idea expressed there. That section states, “Voter suppression in the State of Wisconsin is a real and recurrent issue, whether it’s due to stringent voter ID and laws, disinformation campaigns, or other forms of voter intimidation, and must be countered with accurate and positive information on the voting process.”
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3 thoughts on “MKE County: Board Could Fund Voter Education, Registration”
Good News! Voter registration and education is an important tool to push back against those falsehoods out there attempting to dismantle Democracy!
Great! I’m pleased to know our board is taking some action on this critical issue. Bravo!
I’m shocked! Steven Taylor, the supervisor representing Franklin, said that he didn’t support the section that states that “Voter suppression in the State of Wisconsin is a real and recurrent issue, whether it’s due to stringent voter ID and laws, disinformation campaigns, or other forms of voter intimidation, and must be countered with accurate and positive information on the voting process”.