A legislative candidate from Wisconsin can’t use a profane, racially charged phrase to describe herself on the ballot, an election oversight board decided Wednesday. But the state’s Government Accountability Board voted to bar that wording, agreeing with a staff recommendation that it is pejorative and therefore not allowed.
State law allows independent candidates to have five words describing themselves placed after their names on the ballot as long as it’s not pejorative, profane, discriminatory or includes an obscene word or phrase.
Griffin, who is Black, argued her case to the five White, retired judges on the board that regulates elections. She said the phrase was protected free speech. “It’s a freedom of expression,” she said. “It’s not racial. It’s not a slur.” She convinced three of the judges that the wording should be allowed, but two said it should not. One judge was absent, and Griffin needed four votes to succeed. Griffin said she intends to seek an injunction in federal court.
Judge Gordon Myse, the board chairman, cast the third vote in favor of Griffin. “Isn’t she saying, I’m not under the White man’s direction? I’m independent of that.’ Isn’t that what she’s saying?” Myse said.
Roxanne Dunlap, a White woman from Sussex, felt compelled to speak up in the middle of the meeting, saying she was offended by the statement. She said if a White candidate wanted to have the statement “not the Black man’s b—-” put on the ballot, it would be soundly rejected. Read more:
Thank you Jolynn