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Violating Privacy in Search of Fraud is Misplaced Justice

Jul. 25, 2017
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Editor's Note: Issue of the Week presents the Shepherd Express’ opinion on an important issue in the news. It is usually written by the Shepherd’s editor, but at times we invite someone outside of the paper who is either working in the field or has some other level of expertise. Jon Erpenbach is the Wisconsin State Senator for the 27th Senate District.

Regardless of what happens in court or the “call back” from President Donald Trump, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will follow Wisconsin law and grant a request to release limited information about our voters, as they must under our open records law. The name and address of voters, as well as when and where they voted, will be given to Trump’s commission if they pay for the records. But the secret ballot, party preference, Social Security number and date of birth are rightly protected by our laws. There is no other choice because our law on open records is clear.

However, violating our voters’ rights in search of fraud is a waste of time and a violation of privacy because the Republican claim of voter fraud has been proven false more than once. This national ploy will show nothing different. Voters are not the ones committing fraud in elections; politicians who pass laws rigging the maps so only they can win create the true voter fraud.

This fraud is so great that a panel of three federal judges overturned it and demanded new maps be drawn. This fraud is so valid that the U.S. Supreme Court will now hear how fraudulent our maps are and how dirty Wisconsin elections have become under this one-party rule. This should make no one proud. The voter fraud of rigged maps is what needs attention. Taking away the right to one person-one vote, without political interference, is the crime.

Voters in this state must work hard to access the ballot, and that is not something that has been made easier with the elimination of special registration deputies and additional identification at every single election—not just when you register to vote. But these barriers and intimidation will not break the Wisconsin voter spirit. We have fortitude, we have strength, we are stubborn and we won’t let Republican voter intimidation take away our right to vote.

Coming off an election where the party I belong to did not perform well, this optimism and faith in voters may seem misplaced. But I believe in the value of the right to vote, even if people don’t vote for me. The process of clean elections and the value of the right to vote are bigger than any politician, bigger than any party.

If you would like additional information on voters’ rights and the violation of those rights with the current one-party rule in Wisconsin, call my office at 608-266-6670 or send an e-mail to sen.erpenbach@legis.wi.gov.

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