Here we are, sheltering in place, mail-in ballots in hand — thank you, Oregon. I can’t help thinking about the Wisconsin election on April 7.
The Democrat governor, Tony Evers, had asked the legislature (primarily Republicans) to send out mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus threat. He was turned down. He then issued an executive order postponing the election until June 9. The Republicans immediately challenged, and the state supreme court blocked the order. There was no further choice, the election must proceed. It is interesting to note that less than 72 hours before the polls opened, the state legislature convened; the Republicans sent one member who called the meeting to order, and then closed it. It took 17 seconds. The same thing happened in their senate. As an aside, the Wisconsin judges who forced the election all voted absentee, and the state supreme court offices had two signs on the door — one said that the courts were closed because of COVID-19, and the other said the election had to take place despite COVID-19.
Speaking of absentee ballots, Wisconsin voters had to ask for mail-in ballots (1.3 million requests). Many were not sent out, were sent out late and even more were not received. Where are they?
Not long after, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an order by a lower federal court that said voters could cast absentee ballots as long as they were received by April 13, thus requiring them to be postmarked by April 7.
So now we have the election set up in Wisconsin. In the city of Milwaukee, where there are generally 180 polling stations, there were five. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Wisconsin voters either had to risk their health by voting in person or disenfranchise themselves by not voting at all.
On top of all this, the Wisconsin Legislature is pushing for removal of over 200,000 from the voting rolls. Aren’t we glad we live in Oregon?
Sharon Roben Findling