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Author: Wisconsin Watch

Pesticide rules fail to protect Wisconsin’s drinking water

A 2007 survey of private drinking water wells found 1 out of 3 had pesticides or their breakdown chemicals; farm groups oppose push for tougher atrazine rules. In 2014, Doug and Dawn Reeves discovered the well supplying water to their home in rural Stoughton was contaminated with atrazine, despite the fact that they live in an area where use of the pesticide has been banned for 20 years. During an Easter celebration that year, their son Jacob, fell ill, his body swelling up. Then he developed an unusual rash. After multiple hospital visits, a doctor at American Family Children’s...

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White working-class voters turn to Trump over frustration with Democrats

Although polls show Trump trails Democrat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, the Republican’s message likely will appeal to many rural Wisconsin voters. “The disenfranchised voter who has lost their job as a result of policies affecting the coal industry and other heavy manufacturing jobs are feeling very frustrated with Washington,” said Rex Repass, founder and CEO of Repass, a national public opinion research and strategic consulting firm. “Even though many are historically Democratic counties, they have become very red and very angry.” University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Kathy Cramer also found discontent among Wisconsin’s mostly white, rural residents while...

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Hispanic voters poised to flex their political muscles

Will the ‘sleeping giant’ awaken in time for the November 8 election? Latinos in Wisconsin and beyond are a wild card that can upset the political map, if they can overcome disenchantment and language barriers. She said she had always planned to exercise that right, but an incident in April made it clear just how important it was to cast her ballot. Montes, a Beloit Memorial High School student, was playing in a high school soccer game in Elkhorn when it turned ugly. Fans on the opposing team began yelling “Trump ’16” and “Build that wall!” at her Latina...

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Review shows Wisconsin has no voter impersonation problem

Gov. Scott Walker says the lack of voter impersonation cases does not matter if there is a chance that even one vote is canceled out by fraud. Politicians and voting rights advocates continue to clash over whether photo ID and other voting requirements are needed to prevent voter fraud, but a News21 analysis and recent court rulings show little evidence that such fraud is widespread. A News21 analysis four years ago of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states found that while some fraud had occurred since 2000, the rate was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million registered voters...

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College students face challenges getting to Wisconsin ballot box

Some of Wisconsin’s rules that made it harder for students to vote were thrown out, but voter ID remains even as campuses provide special cards to comply with the law. There are many barriers that keep college students away from the polls. They include registration and voting requirements that vary from state to state, difficulty with obtaining the proper ID or proving residency, lack of familiarity with local issues and local candidates and uncertainty about how or where to vote — at home or at school. Some laws passed over the previous four years, including in Wisconsin, have created...

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DNR and city leaders push State to help clean lead from Milwaukee’s water supply

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett: Current approach to lead in water is ‘Band-Aid,’ and Wisconsin must do more to protect residents from lead in drinking water. Top Milwaukee and state officials agreed Wednesday that Wisconsin must move as quickly as possible to replace all of the estimated 176,000 lead pipes providing drinking water to homes and business in the state, with Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp declaring, “If it costs a lot of money to do that, then it costs a lot of money to do that.” The DNR estimates it could cost between $3,000 and $5,000 for...

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