75% of Wisconsin Voters Approve Victims’ Rights Amendment

Crime victims constitutional amendment passes by huge margin of more than 700,000 votes

MADISON – In an overwhelming victory for victims’ rights, 75 percent of Wisconsin residents cast votes in favor of the proposed crime victims’ constitutional amendment commonly known as Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. Over 1.1 million Wisconsin residents cast votes in favor of the measure, which passed with a vast margin of more than 700,000 votes.

The bipartisan victims’ rights amendment was approved in 2019 for placement on the April 2020 ballot after passing the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly with broad bipartisan support in two consecutive legislative sessions. The overwhelming ratification vote marked the final procedural step for the now approved constitutional amendment.

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin State Chair, Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, who became one of the state’s most prominent victims’ rights advocates after surviving a brutal attack by her ex-husband, released the following statement:

“The voters of Wisconsin have delivered a resounding victory for victims’ rights. After a more than three year effort, equal rights for crime victims are now a reality in the Badger State.

“This is a victory for all of the brave survivors who leant their personal stories to this effort. Your courage has made a real and lasting impact for all those who may one day become victims through no fault of their own.

“This victory is also shared by all of the Wisconsin residents who leant critical support in the multi-year effort to achieve this overwhelming success: the more than 400 criminal justice system stakeholders, victim service agencies, statewide law enforcement groups, community advocates, and the hundreds of individual police chiefs, sheriffs and district attorneys who were steadfast in support of this amendment. Your support for victims’ rights will make a real difference in our communities.”

Dr. Henry Nicholas, founder of Marsy’s Law for All, said the election results demonstrate Wisconsin voters’ demand that crime victims be treated with equal consideration to perpetrators and the accused.

“This is a tremendous victory for crime victims in Wisconsin and yet another resounding victory for crime victims everywhere in our goal of enacting Marsy’s Law nationwide," Nicholas said. "Despite the unprecedented conditions created by the current health crisis, Wisconsin voters responded to the importance of providing equal rights for crime victims. I could not be more grateful to the people of Wisconsin for this victory.” 

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About Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is a grassroots coalition that has developed a unique proposal to give victims of crime equal rights in our state, building on Wisconsin’s laws and history of leading on this issue. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.

Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email Wisconsin@marsyslaw.us.