100 signatures reached
To: Mayor Rhodes-Conway, Clerk Witzel-Behl, and Chancellor Blank
Campus Voting Petition for UW-Madison Students
To Mayor Rhodes-Conway, Clerk Witzel-Behl, and Chancellor Blank,
WE, the students associated with the College Democrats, Badgers for Biden, and the Young Progressives are writing to express our concern surrounding the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. We are deeply troubled by the lack of accessible voting options on campus. Due to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s two-week shut down as a result of rising COVID-19 cases, on-campus in-person voting registration was canceled. Since then, there have been troublingly few announced measures to make up for the missed registration opportunities due to this cancelation.
Today, we are writing to you with demands to institute meaningful reforms to ensure that both in-state and out-of-state eligible students have access to the polls, regardless of the public health situation in October and November. As a right guaranteed to eligible voters by the United States Constitution, all students who want to vote should be able to, and it is an injustice if the University and the City of Madison do not provide us with that access.
We demand these provisions as follows:
1.) Declare voter registration and voting as essential activities, permissible in the event of a quarantine or other restriction on movement.
2.) Ensure that students receive accurate information about online access to proof of residence documentation and Student Voter-Compliant IDs, as well as access to printing these documents whenever necessary.
3.) Ensure that Voter IDs are easily accessible and readily available through online request and fulfillment via email.
4.) Distribute voter registration forms to all students--at the very least on-campus dormitories.
5.) Invite poll workers back on campus when compliant with local health guidance, and allow for the operation of registration stations where students can get registration forms and print out the required proof of residency.
6.) To the extent that early voting locations were previously approved on campus, cooperate with the municipality to ensure that these locations are safely operational by the start of the early vote period.
a. At a minimum, the University needs to ensure that the confirmed In-Person Voting locations on campus remain open. These include the UW-Madison Tent on Library Mall, Engineering Mall, and outside of the Student Activity Center.
b. In addition, if possible, adding In-Person Early Vote locations at Union South, Memorial Union, UW-Madison Health Services Learning Center, the UW-Madison tent the Grassy area east of the UW Natatorium, and outside the Kohl Center.
Why is this important?
In the 2016 presidential election, the critical state of Wisconsin was decided by less than 25,000 votes. Less than fifty percent of the eligible student body participated. This is unacceptable. Although students share the blame for this disappointing turnout, the University, Mayor, and Clerk’s office have an obligation to ensure that turnout amongst students is as high as possible. As we have stated, this means removing barriers to voting and ensuring that all eligible students have the capacity to vote easily and safely. Regardless of one’s political perspective, this will be one of the most important elections in our nation’s history and a victory in the state of Wisconsin will prove to be decisive for either candidate. Voting is a right that must be made accessible to every UW-Madison student eligible to do so.
The UW-Madison College Democrats, Badgers for Biden, and the Young Progressives
(Image Credits, Wisconsin Public Radio, Emily Hamer)