Know who you’re voting for

Lack of information on the voting process and where the candidates stand is one of the barriers for greater numbers of Latino voters to get involved in elections.

Given the tremendous potential of the Latino vote in Southeastern Wisconsin, and the potential immigrant vote of naturalized US citizens in the state as a whole, Voces de la Frontera recognizes that promoting a culture of civic participation will take time but is well worth the effort.

The importance of a more informed citizenry at the polls is underlined by recent efforts to dupe voters in the Fall elections if voters simply voted on a partisan basis.

A former Republican state senator, Tom Reynolds, who lost in the 2006 elections to State senator Jim Sullivan, recruited 20 Republican candidates to run as Democrats in the September 9 primary elections and challenge Milwaukee-area Democrats in the north side and Southside in an effort called “Clean Sweep”. One of the Clean Sweep candidates, Jose Guzman, is running against Assembly District 8 State Representative Pedro Colón.

This tactic clearly demonstrates the need for voters to be more informed, not just about party affiliation, but about where the candidates stand on the issues. Operation Clean Sweep includes an explicit anti-immigrant platform.

During his term as state senator, Tom Reynolds attempted to pass legislation that would have hurt US citizens who receive public medical care by creating a more expensive bureaucracy on the false charge that undocumented immigrants qualify for public medical benefits—when they clearly do not. Fortunately, wisdom prevailed over racism and hate mongering and the proposed legislation was defeated.

This is the same man who, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reportedly asked prospective staff whether they were virgins and sent Christmas cards with photos of his family superimposed on the image of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus.

According to the Shepherd Express, he is the largest financial beneficiary of Clean Sweep, receiving $1,711.93 for travel expenses, despite the fact that all the candidates are in Milwaukee and he lives in West Allis; Reynolds’ printing business also received $1,281.99 for printing services for operation “Clean Sweep.”

These manipulative tactics emphasize the imperative need for voters to be informed about the platform of the candidates and not just their party affiliation.