Alderman Rainey’s voter registration resolution approved by Council
Part of series of efforts to increase voter participation
A resolution that aims to increase voter registration opportunities via City workers was approved unanimously Tuesday (December 18) by the Common Council. The measure (file #180827) directs the Election Commission to implement a program to train and certify all City of Milwaukee employees who interact with the public to register Milwaukee residents to vote.
While there are currently voting registration options via City centers, such as kiosks in libraries and health centers, lead sponsor Alderman Khalif Rainey wants every possible avenue explored to further create a strong electorate. Once signed into the law, the resolution gives the Milwaukee Dept. of Employee Relations 60 days to present to the Common Council a plan to augment voter registration possibilities with applicable City employees. Once that proposal is adopted by the Council, the Milwaukee Election Commission has 30 days to implement the plan.
Alderman Rainey cites the major turnout in the November 6 election as a hunger for civic engagement despite more stringent state policies related to voter registration and casting a ballot.
“It’s unfortunate that policies approved at the state level have sought to create barriers with regard to voting,” he said. “That’s why we are doing whatever we can at the City level to create more opportunities for residents to exercise their right to vote.”
The issue of expanding voting opportunities is front and center for Alderman Rainey. He is sponsoring separate legislation (file #172457) directing city lobbyists to seek a change in federal law through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allow housing authorities to create voter registration programs for its residents.
He has been in communication with the Office of Congresswoman Gwen Moore for clarification as to whether current federal law precludes local agencies such as Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee from creating voter registration programs for its residents.
“What is important here is that we continue this conversation looking at ways to enhance this housing authority resource so more people can participate in the democratic process,” said the alderman.