Volunteers Sought to Ensure Voter Safety on Election Day

Labor and advocacy organizations are joining together in La Crosse to ensure voters can cast their ballots safely and free from intimidation on election day.

CitIzen Action of Wisconsin, SEIU Healthcare and Opportunity Wisconsin say they want to make sure every polling place across the state on Nov. 3 has election observers on site to hand out free PPE, make sure no voter is discriminated against, and that no outside groups intimidate voters.

The organizations are recruiting for election site leads, observers and de-escalation experts. All volunteers will be stationed outside of the polling location they adopt. Leads will set up the location and help manage other volunteers. Observers will help hand out PPE and inform the election workers inside if there are problems. De-escalation experts will be observers with extra training on how to deal with outside groups intimidating voters.

Click here to sign up and find more information. Anyone who signs up will be prompted to select the virtual trainings they wish to take part in. Email Ben Wilson at ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org with questions about the process.

Concerns have been raised about the possibility that right-wing militia groups could try and disrupt voting in Wisconsin on election day. State Attorney General Josh Kaul has warned that anyone who tries to intimidate a voter could face serious criminal charges.

“Voter intimidation is illegal,” Kaul said in a press release. “If someone breaks the laws that protect against voter intimidation, they should be prepared to spend time behind bars.”

Kaul’s office noted that acts of voter intimidation could include:

  • Brandishing or displaying firearms in an intimidating or threatening manner in or near a polling place;
  • Engaging in disorderly behavior in or near a polling place; or
  • Preventing access to a polling place by making threats or engaging in intimidating behavior.

There are also concerns that some in Wisconsin may try and stop votes from being counted after the election, a statement from Citizen Action of Wisconsin said.

“We are mobilizing our elected leaders and everyday citizens to sign onto a letter that demands everyone’s voice is heard,” the statement added. A copy of the letter and petition can be found at this link.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin and other groups are also organizing a series of “Protect the Results” rallies in La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Green Bay and Ashland/Superior on Nov. 4, the day after the election. For details on the La Crosse event and to sign up for updates, click here.

On Nov. 7, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, SEIU Healthcare and Opportunity Wisconsin are planning an “All in Wisconsin: Keep Fighting for a Better Tomorrow” rally at Copeland Park, La Crosse. The purpose of the event is to encourage activists to continue fighting for a living wage, climate action, healthcare for all, COVID relief and racial justice, no matter who prevails in the election. The event is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Sign up here for updates. Masks and social distancing will be strongly encouraged at both events.

Email questions or tips to lacrosseindependent@gmail.com. Top image credit:Tom Arthur/CC BY-SA 2.0.

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