An Unconscionable Choice for Wisconsin Voters Highlights Need for States to Prepare for November

Statement of Aquene Freechild, Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

These are dangerous times for democracy.

Today millions of Wisconsin voters are faced with the choice of protecting their health and for some, their lives, or losing their right to vote. Every voter deserves a chance to cast their ballot safely by mail, drop box or curbside, or to be able to vote early. Forcing voters to choose between preserving their health and casting a ballot is unconscionable.

Wisconsin State House Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) proclaimed by their refusal to delay today’s state primary that they will require people to put their lives at risk to gain what they view as an election advantage for their party.

They know that voters risk contracting COVID19 if they go to the polls today and that some of those who get sick may die.

They know that both Republicans and Democrats are still waiting for absentee ballots that will not arrive on time.

But Vos and Fitzgerald know that, with only five polling locations open in the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee, holding the election now will suppress the Democratic vote more than the GOP vote. That outcome will skew votes for some statewide elections, such as for the state Supreme Court, to their party.

The conservative-led Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed that the election should be held, even if it means that some voters will have to risk death. The U.S. Supreme Court later blocked a federal court order allowing an additional week for absentee voting.