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The 18%

JS Online:

The first vote she cast in her life, in the 2004 presidential election, landed her in the middle of a political storm and put her on a road to a two-year sentence inside the Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center.

In 2004 Kimberly decided to join the 18%. The 18% of Milwaukee citizens who did the unthinkable, they voted. As a consequence for participating in Milwaukee’s alternate universe she was sent to prison.

This almost reminds me of the David Shannon book on baseball, How Georgie Radbourne Saved Baseball.  The factory police came to take Georgie away because baseball was outlawed but he kept saying baseball sayings like ‘batter up’ or ‘going, going, gone.

Kimberly’s crime is very similar. It was not baseball but democracy that is outlawed in Milwaukee County. Kimberly’s crime was not outlawed words, but the audacity of her actions. Kimberly for the first time in her life decided to join the Milwaukee 18% club. Every election cycle more than 82% of Milwaukee County citizens sit the election out. Unlike, Kimberly they do not take responsibility for the democracy they live in.

What is even more despicable is she did not even commit a real crime.  Kimberly has served her time, was looking for a job, and decided voting seemed like the logical next step. She was arrested on the technicality of still being on parole. Isn’t it telling that in an age where both political parties continually engage in bribery, selling votes, extortion, and crimes against the people (yes I’m thinking of Doyle but Bush too) we put someone like Kimberly in prison for having the audacity to vote.

Maybe what Kimberly needs to do is give up the silly thought of never voting again and instead go into the t-shirt business. I can see a whole line of goods capitalizing on her experience. Maybe it can even be used as a get out the vote tool, preferably not for one of the criminal parties.

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One response to “The 18%

  1. EddyPo ⋅

    This is a tragic story. My understanding is that she never would have been caught except she discovered her error and tried to correct it. Nevertheless, certain Journal Sentinel writers uses this story to cry massive voter fraud. McIllheran gets a ‘quick hit’ on this today (5/23/07).

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