Milwaukee voting rights bill backed by County Board

By: - September 25, 2019 8:18 am
Sup. Sequanna Taylor (2nd district) Photo from Milwaukee County.

Sup. Sequanna Taylor (2nd district) Photo from Milwaukee County.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is unanimously backing a resolution proposed by Supv. Sequanna Taylor to restore voting rights to people on probation and parole. Nearly 65,000 Wisconsinites are denied their right to vote because of parole status, despite having already served their debt to society.

“I was pleased to learn that all of my colleagues recognize the importance of speaking up and changing the narrative of voter disenfranchisement,” Taylor said in a statement. “And that they support the restoration of rights that are theirs as citizens and members of the community upon their release.”

Taylor’s bill is partly a statement by Milwaukee County in support of a similar state bill, currently being drafted. The bill aims to restore voting rights to felons, and calls for a full review and revision of Wisconsin’s sentencing and parole processes.

(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

After introducing the resolution, Taylor told Wisconsin Examiner that she was, “willing to work across the aisle to find common ground,” on the issue of voting rights and crimeless revocation.

People on parole or probation can be revoked and re-incarcerated for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s being late to a parole meeting, or moving to a new house without permission, the results are always the same. Getting arrested for a parole violation can cost people their jobs, homes and damage personal relationships with loved ones. Often, parole violators are sent to overcrowded buildings like the controversial Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF).

Crimeless revocation and the closure of facilities like MSDF have been the focus of numerous criminal justice movements in Milwaukee. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin is currently holding a Justice Tour in select locations around the state. Panelists and activists gather at the meetings to discuss the staggering cost to Wisconsin caused by mass incarceration and crimeless revocation. The next meeting will be held September 27, at the Wauwatosa Public Library in Milwaukee.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.