Wisconsin GOP Protects Election By Forcing In-Person Voting During Pandemic
"The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you'd ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again," Donald Trump complained to Sean Hannity about Democrats' proposals to ensure voter access in the coronavirus stimulus bill. Just saying the quiet part out loud about Republican vote suppression, as is his habit. HURR DURR, blarped the MAGAts in unison, LOOKIT CRAZY NANCY LARDIN' THE BILL UP WITH DEMOCRAT PORK.
Well ... meet Wisconsin, AKA Exhibit A in the "WUT DOES VOTIN' HAVE TO DO WITH THE 'RONA?" derpsplainer. Thanks to the indefatigable Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, who tweeted out all the good links.
It started back in 2018, when Democrat Tony Evers beat then-GOP Governor Scott Walker in the November election, and the gerrymandered Wisconsin legislature raced to enact a bunch of laws during the lame duck session to curtail Evers's powers. Because, like Trump, the Wisconsin GOP knows that when people vote, they lose.
Wisconsin's primary is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 7, and while the presidential primaries are more or less a foregone conclusion, they're not the most important issue on the Wisconsin ballot. Control of the state's highest court is at stake, with Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky, a progressive champion of domestic violence victims, vying to unseat Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, a Republican hatchet man.
Justice Kelly has made it abundantly clear that he'll sign off on rigging the state to keep the GOP in charge forever and stop Democrats from registering to vote in November. So of course the state GOP is pulling out all the stops to keep Kelly on the bench.
And then ... coronavirus hit. The GOP adamantly refused to move the primary date, because, see above, when people show up to the polls, they lose. And they weren't about to make it any easier for people to vote, either. No switch to all-mail voting. No extension of the April 2 deadline to request absentee ballots. No increased early voting. No abatement to the requirement that voters upload a photo ID to get an absentee ballot. No waiving the requirement that a witness sign the absentee ballot envelope. Bupkis.
These rapacious ghouls insist that poll workers have to risk their own health to sit there all day checking in voters, who must themselves leave their homes and risk contagion during a pandemic. Because the GOP is filth.
"That seems to me it would really undermine the election if we don't let the process to continue as we are," said Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who later issued a statement attempting to shame Evers for risking the health of election clerks by suggesting that they could mail absentee ballots to every registered voter.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald suggests that old people just prefer in-person voting, and if you think about it, isn't forcing them to vote by mail so they don't die of coronavirus actually a form of voter suppression?
"I think there's certain group of citizens as well that have voted at the polls on election day for many, many years," Fitzgerald told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "And that's what their expectation is. They're not going to go online and request a ballot."
Because if it weren't for bad faith, these people would have no faith at all.
Naturally, errrybody is suing errrybody, with the DNC and Souls to the Polls trying to get the election postponed, and the GOP trying to enforce ID requirements that make it harder to vote absentee. Meanwhile poll workers are canceling en masse, because DUH of course they are, and Evers has responded by calling up the National Guard to work the election.
All of which is happening because the GOP wants to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to make it as difficult and dangerous as possible for the citizens of Wisconsin to exercise their constitutional right to vote. So, yeah, protecting access to the polls belongs in the coronavirus recovery bill. And Republicans damn well know it.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.