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ACLU Using Food Pantries To Undermine Voter ID In Wisconsin


The ACLU of Wisconsin is using local food pantries as a means to gather data about the impacts of the recently passed voter ID bill. Outspokenly opposed to the voter ID bill in Wisconsin, the ACLU of Wisconsin called the measure the “the worst and most restrictive we’ve seen,” explaining that the bill would “deny potentially thousands of voters the right to freely cast a ballot based on the non-existent problem of so-called voter fraud.” When the bill was signed into law on May 26, the ACLU went right to work to prepare a lawsuit like the one they filed recently in Ohio.

Their first step was to gather data. And what better place to find all those “disenfranchised voters” than at a food pantry?

On Friday June 24, Director of Advocacy at the Hunger Task Force Jon Janowski sent an email out to the leaders of over 80 food pantries in Wisconsin to inform them of “a survey project that Hunger Task Force is working on with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).”

The email states:

The ACLU is surveying people all over Wisconsin to assess the impact of Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, and they want to hear from people who might be disproportionately impacted by the law’s new requirements. We are asking your permission to allow Hunger Task Force staffer Mary Ryan and HTF intern Justice Bowers visit your program in the next month or two to conduct the attached survey.

Hunger Task Force attempted to distance themselves from the controversial left-wing group by stating that “participation in the survey is completely optional,” and that “Hunger Task Force takes no position on the ACLU’s work and on what the ACLU decides to do with this data – we are simply assisting them in the collection of the data and then passing the data directly to their staff.”

In a phone interview with Media Trackers, Dana Hartenstein, Communications Coordinator for the Hunger Task Force, said that Hunger Task Force was “not really in a partnership” with the ACLU but was simply “helping to facilitate the survey.” But when asked whether the Hunger Task Force’s “facilitation” of a survey conducted by the ACLU for political purposes unrelated to hunger could have an adverse effect on clients or partners, Hartenstein said she would call Media Trackers back. No phone call was returned and subsequent calls to her number went unanswered.

The ACLU’s exploitation of a network of food pantries to gather data for political purposes surprises no one. But why the Hunger Task Force would muddy their good work by affiliating themselves with such a polarizing left-wing organization on an issue completely unrelated to hunger is baffling.

Whether one calls it “facilitating” or “partnering,” the Hunger Task Force is willingly associating themselves with the ACLU of Wisconsin as they work to undermine and oppose the voter ID law. And it is a sad day when politics and charity can no longer be separated.


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