Voces de la Frontera in Madison on Election Day: Fight for fair elections continues

Voces de la Frontera continued its fight on Tuesday against Wisconsin’s dangerous election by protesting in Madison to ask the state’s top health officer to intervene and stop the ongoing election.

A caravan of several dozen cars circled the headquarters of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, calling on Secretary Andrea Palm to declare a health emergency and stop the election, even as voters were already risking their health at the few polling places still open in the state. 

                             The Milwaukee-based non-profit organization, Voces de la Frontera, is the largest immigrant-rights group in Wisconsin and was part of a federal lawsuit challenging the election.

“It’s a travesty that the election is allowed to go on,” said Tony Castañeda of Madison, one of the protestors. “Putting people at risk, especially the poll workers. It’s an outright power grab by the Republican party.”

Castañeda was referring to Wisconsin’s Republican leaders who fought against postponing the election, eventually winning in decisions late Monday from both the Wisconsin and United States Supreme Courts.

Voces Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said the fight to preserve the full access of citizens to the voting process will continue. “We’re doing this to build a movement to fight a political and legal system that is failing its citizens.”

“What is happening today threatens lives and basic democracy. If it happened here it can happen in future elections in Wisconsin and other states. Our elections matter: the massive need for a robust economic aid package and medical system available to all has never been as apparent as it is at this moment.”

“But it will truly be a movement from below, rooted in social networks to help each other overcome all barriers to voting to ensure that lives and democracy are not stolen as is happening in Wisconsin today.”

“Democracy needs help right now,” said Alejandro Riano of Madison, another protestor. Riano requested an absentee ballot more than two weeks but hasn’t received it. He said he’ll take the health risks and vote in-person.

State election officials said Sunday that about 550,000 people who had requested absentee ballots still hadn’t returned them.

The April 2016 election drew more than 2 million voters. To equal that this year there would have to be over 1.2 million in-person votes cast, extremely unlikely because of the health risks and the closure of so many polling sites.