Scott Walker Hopes You Won’t Notice Him Quietly Killing Voter Rights in Wisconsin

In a private ceremony far away from the prying eyes of the media, Wisconsin Governor (and failed presidential candidate) Scott Walker signed two new bills into law. The first strips power from a nonpartisan elections panel and instead creates two new partisan committees to oversee elections. And the second, in the words of Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post

…relaxes campaign finance rules, doubling the limit for individual contributions, eliminating the requirement that donors must identify their employer and allowing corporate donations to political parties and legislative campaign committees.

Pay no attention to the man in front of the curtain.

Pay no attention to the man in front of the curtain.

Yep. If you asked me how to destroy a democracy as quickly as possible, those are pretty much the steps I’d outline: remove nonpartisan oversight and give outsize power to big money interests. These kind of policies have been enacted in Republican strongholds across the country, and they are incredibly detrimental to democracy.

Walker signed those bills in secret, which is telling: it indicates to me that he knows what he’s doing isn’t in the public’s interest. Unlike most conservative pushes against voter rights, he can’t even hold up a bogus claim of voter fraud as a reason for these policies. What he’s doing will strip the electorate of their voice, and devalue that quintessential American idea of one vote for every citizen. Instead, poor people, minorities, and other populations will lose their chance for equal representation.

Meanwhile, Walker might not have won the presidency—in fact, he made a total hash of his presidential campaign—but you can bet he’ll retire from his governorship into a fancy high-paying position for one of the companies that supported the anti-voter legislation that he signed into law. The ugliness is so overt; opponents of election equality aren’t even trying to hide their goals behind euphemism and coded language anymore. They’re just trying to get what they want and sneak off like thieves into the night.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.