Scott Walker's Poll Tax and Wisconsin's African-Americans

May 24, 2011

MADISON-Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Black Caucus Chair Stephanie Findley following signing of today’s voter suppression legislation.

“Today’s signing of the Republican voter suppression bill into law marks a sad day for Wisconsin. Our proud tradition of open elections and high voter turnout will suffer. And with a stroke of the pen, thousands of African-American citizens will no longer be able to vote, solely because of their lack of identification. We now return to the days before the Voting Rights Act, where literacy tests and poll taxes were the rule.

Make no mistake, the Republicans knew what they were doing with this new law. A UW-Milwaukee study in 2005 found that less than half of African-American adults in Milwaukee County hold ID that would be considered valid to vote in an election. Despite this knowledge, they continued to push this legislation through and killed every single amendment that could have fixed the problems – precisely because our community does not vote for a Party that does nothing for them.

But we will not back down. We will vote as never before for candidates who do not deliberately seek to punish us at the voting booth. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “However difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth pressed to the earth will rise again.” We will persevere and continue to fight against Scott Walker and this Jim Crow-esque example of voter suppression until our rights to participate in our democracy are restored.”