By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
This upcoming general election is a big one, both on a national scale and a local one. The election, which is still scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 will ask voters to pick a candidate for president, a new county executive, a circuit court judge and more.
But beyond that, it also includes a statewide referendum.
My Vote Wisconsin, which is where Wisconsin residents can request an absentee ballot and register to vote, also offers another feature. Residents can put in their address and see a sample ballot.
As implied, the sample ballot contains all the categories including the referendum. The purpose of the sample ballot is to give voters a chance to familiarize themselves with the ballot and with the persons and referendums on the ballot.
At the bottom of the ballot is the statewide referendum which says the following: “QUESTION 1: “Additional rights of crime victims. Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution, which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”
The referendum is referring to Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin.
Marysy’s Law for Wisconsin is a grassroots movement that aims to create equal rights for victims of crimes. It would expand and strengthen the part of the Wisconsin Constitution that related to victim’s rights.
According to Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, victim rights were last updated in 1993. Over the past 27 years, times have changed and its time for Wisconsin to change with them.
Marsy’s Law began in California after the murder of Marsy Nicholas. The Nicholas family had gone to the grocery store shortly after visiting Nicholas’ gravesite. While at the store, the family ran into the accused murderer. According to Nicholas’s brother, the family had no idea the accused had been released on bail.
Marsy’s Law changed that. Now, the victims in states that have implemented Marsy’s Law have added protection under the amendment. The amendment would add or strengthen fourteen proposals.
These changes include: the right to privacy, the right to attend all proceedings involving the case upon request, the right to reasonable and timely notification of proceedings upon request, the right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused, the right to full restitution from any person who had been ordered to pay restitution and so on.
The addition of Marsy’s Law to the Wisconsin Constitution could give a voice to victims and their families.
To learn more about Marsy’s Law for to equalrightsforwi.com. To minimize the risk of COVID-19, voters are encouraged to vote absentee by mail. Ballots can be requested at myvote.wi.gov and must be returned by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13.