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Common Ground held a voter registration drive-thru on July 11th modeled after the drive-up COVID-19 community testing sites. Common Ground helped those who needed to register, re-register or check their registration status in the Sherman Park neighborhood. Leaders and volunteers wore masks and gloves and followed doctor-approved safety precautions to protect themselves and those coming to register.
“Because of COVID-19 we have had to adapt and develop creative ways to reach our neighbors safely. There are just 115 days until the November election and we have work to do!” remarked Patricia Obluck, Common Ground bilingual organizer and Sherman Park resident.
Voter turnout in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin could determine the result of the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, the Wisconsin election was determined by 22,000 votes. Voter drop-off from 2012 in Milwaukee was severe, with 40,000 fewer people voting in 2016 than they had in the previous election cycle. Voter registration has been historically low due to the pandemic.
If the April 7th election debacle in Milwaukee was any indicator of what’s to come this fall, we are in for a fight. That’s why Common Ground is helping to register 2,500 voters, following up with each of them from the time they register to the time their ballot is counted. Overall, Common Ground will be working to turn out 13,000 people to vote in Milwaukee.
“Common Ground is not supporting a candidate or a party. We are supporting the people and our right to vote,” said Saidirick Walker, Common Ground leader and a member of Invisible Realities Ministries on N. 54th and W. Center Street in Sherman Park.
On July 18th and 19th Common Ground along with Voces de la Frontera and Layton Boulevard West Neighbors will host voter registration drive-thrus on the South side of Milwaukee: Saturday, July 18th from noon to 6:00pm at El Rey (5200 W. Oklahoma Ave.) and Sunday, July 19th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm at the Basilica of St. Josaphat (2333 S. 6th St., rear parking lot). All wishing to register to vote must bring a valid proof of residence (see options below) and wear their face masks.
There are many lessons to be learned from the past four years and the past four months. A health crisis has broken out as COVID-19 spreads throughout the world and a moral crisis has erupted as acts of police brutality fill our streets and screens from Kentucky to Minnesota to right at home in Wisconsin. Common Ground leader Pastor Joy Gallmon of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church laid out two of those many lessons: “We must protect the vote because our lives are at stake. We must get out the vote because the lives of our children, neighbors and communities are at stake.”
Common Ground is a non-partisan group of ordinary citizens of Southeast Wisconsin, dedicated to identifying problems facing our community and implementing creative solutions. You can join the campaign by contacting us directly at email@example.com or learn more at commongroundwi.org.