In November, Milwaukee County voters could see an advisory referendum on the state’s 173-year-old abortion ban

It all comes down to a close vote during a board meeting this Thursday. Guest story by Phil Rocco.

…. For a very low cost to the County budget – less than a nickel per resident–the referendum provides a meaningful barometer of public opinion on this ancient and brutal statute. If one extended the opportunity costs argument to its (absurd) logical conclusion, one could also argue that we shouldn’t finance voter assistance in local elections because it imposes “opportunity costs” and turnout in local elections is low anyway. 

The stakes of this resolution are higher than some of the fence-sitters on the County Board apparently realize. Democracies do not fall apart quickly. It takes a long time. And it happens in part because mass publics and elected officials that find themselves in the “opposition” give up hope and stop exercising the power they have to catalyze change. By inviting voters into the democratic process through advisory referenda. Milwaukee County has the opportunity to serve as a beacon of hope in a state that, sadly, appears on the verge of abandoning basic democratic values. 

Moments like this reveal whose side our elected officials are really on. 

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