OP-ED: Newest SCOTUS Case Threatens Fair Elections in Wisconsin

In the case of Harper v. Moore, currently being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, our freedom to choose our elected leaders in free and fair elections is literally on trial.

Time and again we’ve seen the right wing MAGA faction dominating the Republican Party go to great lengths to try to undermine our freedom to vote – from rigging legislative district lines and election rules to spreading lies and perpetrating criminal conspiracies to try to overturn election results.

At issue in the Harper case is a radical, right wing scheme called the “independent state legislature theory” that would put state legislatures alone in charge of deciding election rules, without any checks or balances from governors or courts.

In Wisconsin, that could mean extreme partisans like Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos and MAGA election denying legislators would have unchecked power over elections without any oversight or input from nonpartisan election officials, our courts or even other elected officials like the Governor and Attorney General. Even Wisconsin’s protection for the right to vote enshrined in the state constitution could be ignored.

What could it mean, in practical terms, for our freedom to vote in Wisconsin if a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices endorse this right wing theory?

Wisconsin’s extreme gerrymandered legislative districts, already rated as among the worst in the nation by independent analyses, could get even worse. We could lose the power to decide who governs in our names through fair and competitive elections.

Courts could not step in to enforce laws that allow us to vote by mail and that help make sure the voices of people with disabilities and underrepresented communities are heard in our political process.

Right wing legislators could change the rules about times of voting and requirements to vote that could undermine our freedoms, without having to pass bills that could be vetoed by the governor.

Legislators could even ignore the results of federal elections, like sending a fake slate of electors to represent Wisconsin and possibly determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential election, succeeding in carrying out a plot that narrowly failed in 2020.

The bottom line is – Wisconsin elections and our freedom to vote should not be at the mercy of unchecked partisans in the state legislature.

Together, we can come together to reject the danger that this case poses to our democracy. We need the nation’s highest court to know: we want them to protect non-partisan maps and fair elections in Wisconsin.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.