City of Milwaukee Employee Uses Work Email for Liberal Get Out the Vote Efforts

MacIver News Service | June 4, 2012

[Racine, Wisc…] A nurse with the City of Milwaukee Health Department used her city email account to forward an email about a massive get out the vote effort by a left wing organization in Racine.

Nancy Burns, public health nurse coordinator for the city, forwarded an email from Voces de la Frontera to an undisclosed number of recipients.

“I have nothing to do with that,” Burns, the public health nurse coordinator, told the MacIver News Service. “I’m just a forwarding service.”

The original email from Voces de la Frontera was a press release describing its student-led get out the vote effort planned for the City of Racine on Tuesday.

Voces de la Frontera describes itself as immigrant rights advocacy group. The organization has been active in the Madison protests over the last year.

According to reports on file with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Voces de la Frontera has spent approximately $23,000 so far during the recall to pay for disbursements marked “Wages-campaign staff,” listing the expenditures in favor of Tom Barrett and opposed to Governor Walker

On Tuesday Tom Barrett, the Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee is attempting to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker in the first statewide recall in Wisconsin history.

The email Burns forwarded Monday did not specifically endorse any candidate.

In her email, Burns included a note: “If you wish to be removed from the email list for HASSR please notify Nancy Burns.”

HASSR is the acronym for Health Advocacy for Spanish Speaking Residents. In a brief interview with the MacIver News Service, Burns admitted forwarding emails like the one from Voces de la Frontera is not a part of her official duties. 

She subsequently referred further questions to Anna Benton, Interim Health Operations Administrator.

Benton said she was not aware of the Burns forwarding the email.

“It’s certainly against our policies for employees to forward emails of a political nature during work hours,” she said. “I don’t think this has ever happened before that I know of.”

The effort by Voces de la Frontera boast 450 students will be participating in a massive get out the vote effort beginning Tuesday. Racine schools are in session until June 8th.

The Racine Unified School District’s communications office told the MacIver News Service that the event is not officially sanctioned by the District. Students that want to participate must have the written consent of their parents. If these students have fewer than 10 missed days of official instruction, then they are free to participate. 

Certain schools that have been singled out by Voces are participating, but the district has no real recourse to stop them since they are operating within previously established policies. 

Below is the email Burns sent to an undisclosed number of recipients.

From: Burns, Nancy []

Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 11:00 AM

Subject: FW: TOMORROW: Hundreds of Racine Students Launch Massive GOTV Effort


If you wish to be removed from the email list for HASSR please notify

Nancy Burns at

Nancy Burns, R.N.

Public Health Nurse Coordinator

City of Milwaukee Health Department

Southside Health Center

1639 S 23 St

Milwaukee WI 53204

Phone: 414-286-8523

Fax: 414-286-5480

NOTICE: This E-mail and any attachments may contain confidential

information. Use and further disclosure of the information by the

recipient must be consistent with applicable laws, regulations and

agreements. If you received this E-mail in error, please notify the

sender; delete the E-mail; and do not use, disclose or store the

information it contains.

From: Voces de la Frontera


Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 9:33 AM

Subject: TOMORROW: Hundreds of Racine Students Launch Massive GOTV Effort





JUNE 4, 2012

CONTACT: Kate Werning (414) 469-9206



On Tuesday June 5th, 450 Racine High School students will participate

in a city-wide effort urging voters to take to the polls in

Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election.

Participating students are from Horlick, Case, Park, and Walden high

schools. The event is being organized by Youth Empowered in the

Struggle (YES), the student arm of Voces de la Frontera.

Across the city, students will be wearing bright T-shirts that say

“Vote For Our Future” and travel in vans driven by teacher, parent,

and community member volunteers. The students will decorate the vans

with messages about voting. They will then go door-to-door throughout

Racine to talk to residents about voting- offering transportation to

voters if needed, as well as literature with information about

registration and polling locations.

Alexia Gates, YES leader and Racine Unified School District high

school student, said:

“As a student, I believe that we need to become united with others in

our community to have a stronger voice. The more YOU know, the more

powerful WE become. Voting is power. Voting makes the difference

between complaining about the governmental system or being an active

part in its reconstruction. It is the responsibility of every eligible

American to vote, because collectively we can transform this country.

It’s a commitment that can make a big difference.”

Lucero Rocha, another YES leader also from Racine Unified, added:

“Voting is especially important in the City of Racine, where our

community has historically had a very low voter turnout.”

This activity is non-partisan and the students will not be supporting

any particular candidate.

Racine YES students have a history of running Get out the Vote efforts

like this one since 2004, and hope to increase the voter turnout in

the City of Racine.

Members of the media are invited to join the students for the send-off

tomorrow morning at the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave, at 7:15

AM on June 5th. Student representatives are also available for

interviews. Contact Kate at the number above.


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