Today is the deadline for mail-in ballots in Wisconsin’s primary election, which happened a week ago. As you recall, that state’s Democratic governor tried to delay the election because of a stay-at-home order caused by the coronavirus. But the Republican-controlled legislature — led by Speaker Robin Vos — rebuffed that attempt.
Then a Wisconsin district court tried to extend the date for absentee mail-in ballots to be postmarked, so people could avoid exposing themselves by voting in person. This was necessary because there was such a shortage of poll workers that there very few poll places were able to open. In Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, instead of the normal 180 polling sites, only five were open.
But that attempt was overruled by the US Supreme Court (you guessed it, with a purely partisan verdict). In addition, with the large number of people trying to vote by mail, the system was so overwhelmed that many voters who applied for absentee ballots did not receive them by the deadline for getting them postmarked. And the Supreme Court decision meant that any ballot postmarked after that date would be thrown away.
The result was a horrible, dangerous mess, with long lines and large crowds. People literally risked their lives, by ignoring stay-at-home orders and going to vote.
But that’s not what this post is about. It is about Robin Vos, the Speaker of the legislature, who could have prevented this fiasco. Adding insult to injury, after voting had already started, Vos appeared on TV, and told people that if they didn’t receive their absentee ballot, they could still request a ballot via email. Watch him say that:
There’s just one problem, it wasn’t true. The only recourse if you did not receive your requested absentee ballot was to vote in person. Which Vos claimed was “incredibly safe” — despite the fact that he was decked out in protective clothing and a mask. And hypocritically, there was not enough protective clothing and masks to provide them to all polling site workers in the state.
I just hope the people of Wisconsin remember this the next time they vote. And everyone in America, when they vote for their Senators, remembers that a Republican-controlled Senate blocked Obama’s nomination for the Supreme Court, turning the court into an extension of the current Republican party, who suppress voter turnout by risking our lives.
UPDATE: It looks like their chicanery backfired on the Republicans.