The cruelest twist for the residents of 53206 is that they have been actively disempowered to fight back, even while they are maligned as ne’er-do-wells and criminals. In Wisconsin, no one in prison can cast a ballot. And thanks to Scott Walker’s truth-in-sentencing law, neither can those felons who are under supervision. In 2007, 1,215 black men in 53206 alone were under supervision, which means that not one of them could cast a ballot even though they have “paid their debts to society.” [...]
So the next time Democrats complain about lower voter turnout, not just in 53206, but in any beleaguered neighborhood, they might think first about the policies, both old and new, that have served and continue to serve as stumbling blocks for black political participation. And not only policies, but the myths that help keep those policies in place.