Eight months before a presidential election in which Wisconsin will be a pivotal state, Democrats and community organizers are searching for ways to eradicate barriers faced by low-income, mostly minority voters in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin’s largest city had record-breaking turnout during the 2016 presidential primary, with nearly 24,000 more ballots cast than the 2008 primary.
But by November of that year, the state’s voter ID law, registration difficulties, a lack of investment by candidates in the city and little enthusiasm among voters to support either nominee, among other factors, caused turnout numbers in the general election to plummet compared with previous years across the state’s largest Democratic stronghold.
The November 2016 election results — Republican Donald Trump eked out a victory in the state by 22,748 votes — motivated organizers in Milwaukee to get more boots on the ground. Their goal: educate, motivate and empower residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, which they say have been hit the hardest by the state’s voter ID law.