Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Call TODAY for voting rights in Wisconsin!

All legislators in the state Assembly (Republicans AND Democrats) need to hear from their constituents by Thursday, October 29th at noon on the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act. Voters who demand that they vote YES for AB 353 could help the bill get a floor vote this session and restore voting rights to over 42,000 Wisconsin citizens.

It’s this simple: It comes down to you making one phone call or sending one email.

CALL YOUR ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE NOW and tell them:

“I am your constituent and I support AB353 the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act. I want you to vote YES and restore the vote in Wisconsin!”

Find your Assembly representative at the Who Are My Legislators? website

Some important things to know about the legislation:

- Wisconsin law bars individuals with felony convictions from voting while incarcerated and while on probation, parole or extended supervision. The Wisconsin State Legislature is currently considering legislation, known as the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act, that would restore the right to vote to individuals upon release from incarceration. This law would enfranchise the over 42,000 Wisconsin citizens who live in the community, work and pay taxes but are unable to participate in the political process.

- Disfranchisement is unfair and un-American. Over 42,000 Wisconsin citizens living, working, raising families and paying taxes in Wisconsin are barred from voting due to a past felony conviction.

- Disfranchisement perpetuates Jim Crow in Wisconsin. Racial disparities in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system mean that 1 in 9 African Americans in Wisconsin cannot vote compared to 1 in 50 of all Wisconsin citizens.

- Voting may make us safer. Studies show that ex-offenders who do not vote re-offend at a rate of 27%, ex-offenders who vote re-offend at a rate of 12%.

- Wisconsin voters support enfranchisement. A May 2009 poll showed that 57% of Wisconsinites support automatic, post-sentence enfranchisement.

- We need to simplify the voting process and save taxpayer dollars. Enfranchising people upon release from incarceration streamlines the restoration process, conserves government resources and saves taxpayer dollars.

- Wisconsin has more restrictive felony disfranchisement laws than 20 other states, including neighboring Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

CALL YOUR ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE NOW!

Wanna do more?
Call your State Senator as well and forward this to 5 friends!

Cross-posted with the ACLU of Wisconsin's Cap City Liberty blog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Restore the Vote Now - Wisconsin "Democracy Restoration Act" would end taxation without representation

The Restore the Vote Wisconsin NOW! Coalition announced on July 3 the circulation of an important voting rights bill in our state legislature and encourages legislators from both sides to the aisle to co-sponsor it. The Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act will enfranchise more than 42,000 Wisconsin citizens who live, work, go to school, raise families and pay taxes in our communities.

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“Without a vote, citizens have no voice," said Sheila Cochran, President of the Milwaukee County Labor Council/AFL-CIO. "Encouraging active participation in our democratic society is an essential part of the reentry process for ex-offenders returning to their home communities. The exercise of that responsibility to society can foster safer communities for all of us.”

The Restore the Vote Now coalition is a group of over 70 organizations who have committed to public education and direct action to restore the right to vote in Wisconsin. Nationally, voting rights for people with felony convictions are being restored on a bi-partisan basis as state legislatures and governors increasingly recognize the discriminatory implications of denying any US citizen voting rights. In Wisconsin, the Restore the Vote Wisconsin NOW! (RTV-WIN!) coalition has brought together citizens, civil rights, law enforcement, labor, faith and community organizations groups committed to working for fairness and the fundamentally American right and responsibility to cast a ballot.

“The Restore the Vote Wisconsin NOW! coalition will be encouraging legislators to sign onto and quickly pass this important and timely bill,” said Renee Crawford, Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin and coalition organizer. “On the day we celebrate our independence, we also thank the State Senator Lena Taylor and State Assembly Representative Tamara Grigsby for their patriotic legislation to end taxation without representation for 42,000 Wisconsin citizens.”

For more info on the RTV-WIN Coalition including a list of the more than 70 organizations who have signed onto the coalition, go to www.restorethevotewi.org. For more information about the work of the ACLU to restore voting rights to ex-offenders, please visit the national ACLU voting rights page.

Cross-posted with the ACLU of Wisconsin's Cap City Liberty blog.