Wisconsin Conservatives: Disabled Voters Don't Exist
Credit: Cognitive Dissidence
April 21, 2022

At the beginning of the year, a misnamed right wing front group, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit on behalf of some Republican operatives who somehow had their rights violated by the state allowing the use of ballot drop boxes. Keep in mind that WILL had done a 10 month fraudit of their own and found no evidence of election fraud, ballot dumping or anything else that could be deemed problematic.

For years, long before the 2020 elections, the Wisconsin Election Commission had approved the use of ballot drop boxes and allowing another person to drop off a voter's ballot for them. However, despite this fact and despite WILL's own fraudit results, the case was heard before a Waukesha County judge who halted both practices. An appellate court quickly stayed the order for the spring primary, which was just a few weeks later, but allowed the order to stand for the spring general elections which was held on April 5.

Predictably, stories started popping up from all over the state about people with disabilities, people with medical conditions and people who are frail or elderly not being able to vote because they were physically unable to put their ballot into a mailbox. People like Martha Chambers, who has been paralyzed from the neck down following a horseback riding accident 27 years ago.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court finally got to hearing the case last week, after people had their rights denied. It was during this hearing that things went from bad to the stupefying ridiculous. Rick Esenberg, the head of WILL tried to deny that people like Chambers even existed and in the process blew a big gaping hole in his own argument:

In the oral arguments WILL president Rick Esenberg cast doubt on whether people like Chambers exist in Wisconsin.

“If, in fact, there were persons who were unable to mail the ballot or deliver the ballot in person, that might make it impossible for them to vote and that might create some legal problem down the line,” Esenberg said. “Those individuals, perhaps they would have a claim to voting rights, perhaps they would have a constitutional claim. I would say that on this record, however, we have no indication that such a person exists, because we have affidavits here in which individuals have indicated that what they need is essentially somebody to pick up their ballot from them.”

Hello? Anybody home? These voters are saying they need someone to pick up their ballots because they are physically unable to mail the ballots themselves. In other words, the are stating they need help because they are indeed disabled.

Esenberg tried to convince the court that he was totally heartless by suggesting that these non-existent people leave their non-existent doors open so that their non-existent postal carriers can pick up their non-existent ballots. Just because it also leaves these completely vulnerable people to anyone else was apparently none of Esenberg's non-existent concern.

It also didn't matter to Esenberg that the postal workers don't do that sort of thing in the first place:

Barbara Beckert, director of the Milwaukee office of Disability Rights Wisconsin, said in the press conference that Esenberg’s assertion was offensive. She added that the postal service can and does deny people’s requests for accommodations.

“Some participants in this litigation seemed skeptical that there are people in our state who are disenfranchised by the ban on absentee ballot return assistance,” Beckert said. “They suggest that every voter is able to mail their own ballot, place it in the mailbox or return it to their clerk if they try hard enough. That is offensive, and it is false. There are many people who because of disability or health conditions cannot place their own ballot in their mailbox. They may be unable to move their arm due to [multiple sclerosis], muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury or other health conditions. They may not have arms, but they do have the constitutional right to vote and it is protected by federal civil rights laws that were enacted to combat such forms of discrimination and protect the fundamental right to vote for all Americans.”

To further demonstrate the absolute absurdity of Esenberg's argument, look at this exchange between Esenberg and some of the justices, as reported by Scott Bauer of the Associated Press:


Keep in mind that it would be perfectly fine for a spouse, a friend or a neighbor to witness the completion of the ballot. Heck, they could even physically fill in the ballot at the voter's direction. But they can't deliver it for the voter? Or even put it in the mailbox for the voter? It doesn't stand up to any sort of reason or logic.

The State Supreme Court needs to kill this unconstitutional and nonsensical absurdity and allow people to vote as is their right. And if they really wanted to dole out some justice, they would order WILL to pay some sort of recompense for all the people whose rights they denied. But don't hold your breath for that to happen.

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