As people of faith, we believe that all people are created in God’s image, and endowed with the basic human right of self-determination. Part of that right includes the right to participate in the political process of choosing our elected leaders. In recent years, we have seen increased efforts to block access to this right. Across the country, we have seen enacted restrictive voter ID laws, regulations limiting access to registration and to the polls, and deliberate efforts to discourage and depress voter turn-out.
Here in Wisconsin, some of the most restrictive laws have been enacted in what was once a state with among the most liberal voting laws. When next Wisconsinites go to the polls, we will be required to show a photo ID, even though expert testimony in a lawsuit against this provision stated that up to 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin lack such ID. In addition, early voting has been reduced from 30 days to 12 days; evening and weekend hours for early voting have been cut, making it impossible for working people to vote early; and the residency requirement has been increased from ten to twenty-eight days prior to an election.
Efforts have been made in Congress to restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act, but partisan considerations have stalled these efforts. Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice calls upon our federal Senators and Representatives to restore full voting rights across the country, and upon our own state legislature to restore our state as a model of progressive voting regulations that enable every citizen to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.