Monday, April 6th, 2020
There will be something resembling an election Tuesday in Wisconsin, a state not spared infection and death from COVID-19. Instead of polling places spread out conveniently throughout the state, a relative few will be open, because the army of volunteers required to staff the places have wisely decided to follow CDC stay at home guidelines and they un-volunteered for the human-contact-intensive task.
So if you live in Wisconsin and you want to vote in this election and you haven’t received the absentee ballot you’ve requested, you have to figure out a way to get out there and stand in line and interact with lots of people and touch strange surfaces and try not to pick up anything microscopic, and certainly not bring it back home to possibly fragile loved ones. Gloves and masks, sure, to begin with. Oh, and chances are your regular polling places will be closed, so you might have to wait in line. This is, let’s not mince words, a life-threatening set of variables for voters of all ages and parties to face. It is beyond cruel. I’m trying to imagine a discussion of a decision like this in history books years down the road. I think the kids will find it hard to believe.
This is all because the Republicans (who have the Wisconsin state legislature and Supreme Court right now) have done the math and they realize that unless raw voting numbers are held down, there is no way that they can win, pretty much ever again. So even in this crisis, this global pandemic, they are working a strategy, and they will do something like it next time and the time after that, not just in the badger state but in every state and community they can…until even these extreme antidemocratic (and pro-infection) tactics succumb to the realities of population change.
Needless to say, I am hoping at some point that all states and communities will adopt vote by mail and any other methods to make sure that if you are qualified to vote, you need not risk your life to do so.