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Author: Wisconsin Watch

Barriers and Disillusionment: Obstacles still prevent Wisconsin’s nonvoters from attaining political clout

Working digitally and on the streets of Milwaukee, activists tried to convince nonvoters to go to the polls, but distrust and disgust kept some away. When Angela Lang reflected on the thousands of conversations she and other members of her community organization, BLOC, have had with Milwaukee residents, one floats to the top of her mind. It was with a 54-year-old Milwaukee resident who explained to Lang’s colleague that she was not voting because she was a convicted felon. Unbeknownst to her, she had been eligible for about 12 years — since she completed her probation. A BLOC staffer...

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The Madison Method: Former police chief suggests alternative to military tactics and escalation

David Couper, Madison’s police chief from 1972 to 1993, said law enforcement should ditch the riot gear and tear gas to keep the peace. At least 1,500 young people gathered on Madison, Wisconsin’s Mifflin Street in April 1973 for a block party featuring street dancing, potato salad and sunshine. People drank beer, smoked weed and tossed Frisbees in the neighborhood near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus known informally as Miffland. Police officers observed the party from a distance, greeting attendees and directing traffic away from the event. They did not wear police caps, nor did they make arrests. The...

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GOP lawmakers hold sham hearings to invalidate Wisconsin votes but do nothing to ease pandemic pain

Unable to dictate election results with their gerrymandering voter maps in November, Wisconsin Republicans called for changes to election laws and made broad allegations of fraud and misconduct without offering any proof. About two hours into a joint legislative hearing on December 11, state Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, said he had enough of the “sham” gathering called by Republican lawmakers to investigate the November 3 election. “Maybe that will speed things up a bit,” joked Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, who oversaw the daylong hearing before two legislative elections committees. The terse exchange was repeated several times until all five...

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Wisconsin GOP official faces backlash after telling his party to stop trafficking in election conspiracies

Knowing he would probably face fierce criticism, Rohn Bishop raised a dissenting voice while some of his fellow conservatives argued in favor of invalidating votes in Wisconsin. In a November 21 post on Twitter, Bishop said he had spent the past decade refuting claims that state Republicans were “trying to disenfranchise people” with voter ID and signature laws. But the campaign of President Donald Trump had gone too far, he said, in legal challenges aimed at tossing out votes during the recounts in mostly liberal Dane and Milwaukee counties. The counting was completed Sunday, adding 87 votes to Joe...

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Coronavirus skeptics and their denial of any danger has helped kill a thousand Wisconsinites in 21 days

Some Wisconsinites downplay the severity of COVID-19, spurning masks and vaccinations and inhibiting efforts to contain the pandemic. Dan trusts practically nothing the media and medical establishments say about the COVID-19 pandemic. He considers the threat overblown. And saying as much on Twitter has triggered some heated arguments. “You question anything, you get told you’re going to kill grandma or you’re doing something wrong, and you’re made to feel like you’re unpatriotic for not putting on a mask,” he said. Dan of Muskego is an active voter who has worked for the past several years at a restaurant. He...

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Wisconsin Legislators continue to ignore requests by municipal clerks for how to process absentee ballots

As Claire Woodall-Vogg stood in the middle of an empty Central Count facility days before the Nov. 3 election, it wasn’t just the national spotlight on the city of Milwaukee or the swirling claims of voter fraud that weighed heavily on her mind. It was the frustration that she, and hundreds of other Milwaukee election workers, were facing an unprecedented pile of absentee ballots — and no permission to process them. For years, Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, and other election officials have pushed for absentee vote processing to start before Election Day. While momentum on...

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