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Throw the rascals out

Recently State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, came out with an opinion touting Wisconsin Act 23 — the Wisconsin strict voter ID law — passed early in 2011, as “a major victory for the integrity of our state’s elections.” Fitzgerald stated “even one fraudulent ballot cast diminishes the value of each citizen’s legitimate contribution.”

Lofty words which might normally ring true. However, later that summer Fitzgerald and 74 other Republican state legislators signed a secret agreement to withhold information about their redistricting plan from constituents to gerrymander Wisconsin’s state legislative and congressional voting districts. The plan cost taxpayers about $400,000 in fees to a Milwaukee law firm and passed into law on Aug. 9, 2011, after only one quick hearing.

Gerrymandering essentially renders meaningless the popular vote in a final election by predetermining the outcome before a vote is even cast because of a one-sided voter makeup in electoral districts constructed to favor the political party controlling the redistricting plan.

So, on the one hand, Fitzgerald and his colleagues appear to be champions of the absolute integrity of the popular vote. But in secret, they are willing to completely nullify and defeat the stated intent of Act 23 by passing a partisan redistricting scheme that serves their own self-advancement, and potentially falsifies voters’ intent even before the election takes place.

What happened to the concept of open government in Wisconsin? We also need to keep in mind that only 10 cases of voter fraud have gone to court in Wisconsin since 2010. Thus, Act 23 is a law searching for a problem that is nonexistent. By the two above-mentioned legislative acts, Fitzgerald and his fellow legislators have made a mockery of elections in Wisconsin and made Act 23 nothing more than a hypocritical exercise in political opportunism.

Taken together, these two legislative acts are an arrogant insult to every voter in Wisconsin and a disgrace to Wisconsin’s traditional record of good government. Once again, the old adage that “actions speak louder than words” comes true.

Let’s hope the voters of Wisconsin do their homework, and reject these demagogues and their false propaganda and “throw the rascals out” on Election Day in November.