Vol. 7    No. 7
APRIL 5, 2012

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                          A Voting Nightmare
I have always had this idyllic sense of citizenship when I was growing up. Maybe I paid too much attention
to civic lessons to notice what was happening in civic reality. I was shielded from one part of civic reality,
namely the disenfranchisement of African Americans through “legal” measures like the poll tax and illegal
measures like the violence of the KKK.

All of that was changed — or so we thought — by Supreme Court decisions and the Voting Rights Act of
1964. But ever since the “Reagan Revolution” of 1980, the gains for people of color that were achieved in
the 1960s and 1970s have been steadily eroded. There is a counter attack going on here. Just check out
the laws like concealed carry, the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground that have been put on the
books the past few years. It is starting to be open season for any young Black man caught “where they
don’t belong.” Trayvon Martin paid the price.

And we have recently been witnessing a spate of measures designed to limit people’s right to vote since
the founding of the United States. It seems that there is a conservative force in this country that just
believes that it is only propertied people who should be able to vote i.e. propertied white males and now
some females and people of color. Some! But the rest of the folks it seems — the masses of people of
color — aren’t “qualified” to vote and measures have been taken to prevent them from voting.

Just how many African Americans are there in prison or are on probation and parole and can’t vote? And
how many people who have paid their debt to society think that they still can’t vote? And how many
people have been redistricted and now must vote far away from where they live? And if the Voter ID bill
kicks in, all kinds of folks will be discouraged from voting. There is definitely a contingent of conservatives
out there who want to take us back to “the good old days” when only propertied Anglo-Saxon men could
vote.

On April 3, I voted for the first time under the harsh measures that were recently passed by the
Republican legislature and Scott Walker. I live in an area of North Fitchburg that has a heavy concentration
of apartments and condos. Relatively speaking for the Madison metropolitan area, the area has a high
concentration of people of color, predominantly African American and Latino families whose children
attend Leopold Elementary School nearby.

I used to be able to go four blocks to vote. It was relatively easy for everyone to go to the Traceway
Clubhouse to vote. But for some of us in a finger of land jutting out from the main part of the new ward I
am in, that four blocks has turned into over four miles. Now I go by the voting booths in Leopold School —
located in the city of Madison — past the Traceway Clubhouse, past the Fitchburg Community Center and
all the way down Lacy Road to vote. It isn’t a place that has a bus line going to it. And so the folks in my
complex and the apartment houses around me who don’t have cars are heavily discouraged from voting.
And it is my understanding that the folks living near the fire station have to travel over a mile to the
Fitchburg Community Center to vote.

When I went in to vote, I told the poll worker where I lived. I know she was itching to ask me for my driver’
s license although that portion of the Voter ID bill has been put on judicial hold. That didn’t stop them from
asking a person of color next to me for her driver’s license so that they could make sure they had the
proper spelling of her name. What was that about?

And then I had to sign my name for my ballot. What an insult! I am a U.S. and Wisconsin citizen and I have
to sign for my ballot in a democracy so that I have someone else’s permission to vote? It is humiliating and
is a reflection of the plantation mentality that many members of the Republican Party have toward this
state. They are talking their state back from the rest of us. Why? Because they think it is theirs to begin
with and they are entitled to do what ever they so wish with it.

I was tempted to put some of my DNA on that signature line just so they could prove I am who I am. The
Republicans are spending millions of dollars to prevent a dozen people or so from illegally voting. Where is
the cost-benefit analysis there? Maybe they will spend millions more to have my DNA registered and
tested. I’m tempted to send a bucketful of my DNA up to Scott Walker’s office to let him know what I think
of these measures.

As I was going to put my ballot in the ballot machine, I stood on one foot and asked the poll worker if I had
to jump up and down in order to vote. What’s one more hoop to jump through.

In the past 10 years, I haven’t seen any proven case of widespread voter fraud — except perhaps in
Waukesha County. The Tea Partiers — like the radical left — believe that they represent “the people” and
when they lose an election, it must have been due to fraud committed by “those people” in the city of
Milwaukee. This is nothing more than a naked power grab. Don’t let them get away with it. Vote no matter
how hard they try to turn you around. The recall election is just around the corner on June 5th!