Color Of Change PAC: Wisconsin Primary Was The Nightmare Election Republicans Have Dreamed Of
The following statement can be attributed to Rashad Robinson, spokesperson for Color of Change PAC, in response to Wisconsin’s dangerous primary election conditions and clear voter suppression efforts:
Yesterday’s decision by Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled state legislature to strike down an executive order delaying the state’s primary election due to COVID-19 concerns was made intentionally, at the expense of voters’ lives statewide. We witnessed the pillars of structural inequality be fortified in real-time, when a clear method of voter suppression was upheld in our nation’s highest court of law. In an effort to capitalize off of the chaos of this moment, Republican officials and extreme conservative judges fought efforts to keep voters safe, placing party interests over the health of the people by choosing to move forward with in-person voting in the midst of a pandemic. Voters were forced to make dire decisions between risking their lives and exercising their right to participate in a free and fair election, further disenfranchising the position of people of color in our democracy.
The right wing is well aware of the power in collective action: Republicans know that their days in power are numbered if all voters have access to fair elections. Their attempts to limit safe access to the ballot box, fighting provisions such as extending absentee ballot deadlines and expanding vote by mail, is a direct reflection of a desire to secure more power – power that will be used to make it harder for those in our communities to access health care, living wages, and access to a quality education. The dismantling of our democracy in light of the spread of coronavirus on behalf of Republicans in power is unprecedented, but measured – these decision makers are using a pandemic to gain and maintain power.
Yesterday, leaders who view Black people as disposable chose to decrease the number of polling places in Milwaukee, a city home to almost 70 percent of the state’s Black population, from 180 to just five, overriding the objections of a resounding number of credible medical experts and forcing Black voters into absurdly long, dangerously crowded lines, in order to take part in yesterday’s primary. While advocating for voting at the polls, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vox donned much of the essential PPE – a mask, gloves, and protective suit – that medical professionals are demanding nationwide while telling constituents that it was “incredibly safe” to vote in-person. For Black folks who had already seen access to polling places gutted, these unconscionable decisions have compounded an existing effort to keep black people in Wisconsin from voting.
Wisconsin was the nightmare scenario Republicans have been dreaming of, and we must take action now to prevent a repeat of this blueprint for stealing power in November. While history will remember these folks alongside the other villains to democracy and progress, we remain committed, working to win elections and knowing that justice is on our side.
Color Of Change PAC is a Political Action Committee focused on building independent Black political power, amplifying Black voices, electing candidates who share our values, and holding them accountable to our communities. For more information on Color Of Change PAC, visit votingwhileblack.com.