By The Associated Press

Kenosha News. September 28, 2022.

Editorial: We encourage all to vote this November, and in every election

We noted with dismay this month when Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other state Republican leaders objected to municipalities in the state encouraging people to vote through support of Get Out the Vote campaigns.

The GOP leaders said such municipal involvement was “inappropriate” and “possibly illegal”.

Their pique was triggered when Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced support for “Milwaukee Votes 2022,” a get-out-the-vote effort led by a liberal group, GPS Impact. No public funds are going toward it.

GOP leaders labeled it “Zuckerbucks 2.0”, a pejorative reference to how more than 200 Wisconsin communities cumulatively accepted $10 million in grants to support election efforts prior to the 2020 presidential election from the non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life, funded by hefty donations from Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Those donations, which included Racine and four other Democratic-leaning cities in the state, were challenged by conservatives in court and roundly rejected by state courts – just as federal courts have ruled. They are legal.

Vos and GOP leaders issued a statement saying, “It is inappropriate for any municipality to support a GOTV campaign. Democrats continue to allow suspicious activity and highly partisan groups to meddle in our elections. Milwaukee Votes 2022 is essentially Zuckerbucks 2.0. This must stop now.”

Have we really gone so far down the rabbit hole of rabid partisan divide that municipalities can’t encourage their citizens to vote? Would Republican leaders extend such a prohibition to private donors, civic groups like the League of Women Voters? Or even newspapers?

Get out the handcuffs, then. This newspaper – and many others across the state – have, for years, encouraged their readers to go to the polls on Election Day.

We have argued that it is not only a citizen’s right but also an obligation, a civic duty to ensure that the best candidates are elected to office and that referendums give clear direction to political leaders.

Our view – quite contrary to that expressed by GOP leaders this month – is that in a participatory democracy it is very important to get as many citizens to participate and that means casting a vote. That brings more buy-in to what our elected government is doing and supports the legitimacy of its actions.

The more voters who go to the polls, the more confidence there will be in our government and its actions. More than ever, in these contentious times, that’s important. Voting matters – it can shape the path of our schools, our municipalities, our state and the leaders of the country.

Go vote in November and every election after that.