I’m Pissed about the Wisconsin Election Today – and you should be too

The Onion article screenshot: "Wisconsin Primary Voters Receive 'I Voted' Gravestones"

I feel enraged and full of anger and negative energy and nowhere to put it. No endless walk around the neighborhood since I’m terrified of getting sick. So I’ll try to channel this anger into my blog (where I’ve tried to keep things positive, but this is too important to ignore). This is going to be a big, long post with a lot of “I” “I” “I” and “I feel…” because I’m a Leo and an INFJ, ok? Ok.

I’m a Wisconsinite through and through. I’m very proud of where I’m from, and I feel protective of my state. I think it’s the best place for a child to be raised. The people are the nicest and will go out of their way to say “hi” or open a door. The beer, cheese, and brats are world-class. The winters are brutal, the summers too short, and the roadwork somehow endless.

I also feel pride in Milwaukee, the city where my family is from and has lived for generations. I feel absolutely angry, disgusted, and terrified that today’s state election is going forward “as planned.” That’s in quotes because nothing but the date is happening as it should have. In Milwaukee (which has the largest population of Black voters in Wisconsin), only FIVE of 180 polling sites are open today. And the lines last for 2+ hours. If you requested an absentee ballot, you may not have received it! Because it was never sent! But if you DID receive it, you need a “witness” to sign it so that it’s “valid.” So if you live alone and are quarantined alone, good luck!!! #suppression #suppression #suppression

Same on Wisconsin Republicans. Shame on Supreme Court Republicans. Shame on all Republicans. They never cared about people, real people – people have never mattered to them.

Anyone who goes to the polls today is putting their life at risk so they can perform a right that has been granted to them as a citizen of this country. Your right to vote in the great state of Wisconsin? It’s now a right to get sick and pass the virus to others.

Step right up to the next polling booth, ladies and gents! We’re not usually allowed to give anything in return for a vote, but we’ve been granted a special exception today! After you spend 3 hours waiting in a line, cast your vote, and get COVID-19 in return! And pass it on to the next person in line!

I’m literally going crazy and getting angrier as I write this psycho-babble. So I’m stopping for now. But if you’re not aware of what’s going on in Wisconsin today: inform yourself. Here are some good links to do that (and some pull-quotes from the articles):

Live updates on the New York Times website (get angrier by the minute!)

  • “Voters in Milwaukee, the state’s Democratic base and most populous city, have experienced significant disruptions at polling places. Election workers in the city expected more than 50,000 voters on Tuesday, but the number of polling locations was drastically reduced, from more than 180 to just five. Some voters waited in line for more than two hours, spread out over blocks as they tried to practice social distancing to guard against the coronavirus.”
  • “On the South Side of [Milwaukee], the parking lot of Alexander Hamilton High School was already full as daylight broke. By 8 a.m., more than 300 voters waited in a line that snaked through the parking lot and down the street. At other locations nearby that would have normally been open for voting, signs were posted directing voters to Hamilton High School. But many of the locations were in heavily immigrant neighborhoods, predominantly Spanish or Hmong, and the only signs posted were in English.”
  • “Jill Swenson, a 61-year-old literary agent, is self-quarantining in her Appleton home. A widow, she lives alone, suffers from a chronic lung disease and fears contracting the coronavirus. ‘I received my ballot and was much surprised, since I had never voted absentee before, to discover there was a witness requirement,’ Ms. Swenson said in a phone interview Tuesday. ‘I don’t know anyone who has been self-isolating who could be a witness for me.’ … She contacted the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the bipartisan state elections agency run by a former Republican state lawmaker, and was sent advice on how to find a witness. The commission proposed Ms. Swenson have a witness come to her window, or watch her mark her ballot via FaceTime or Skype. Ms. Swenson would then have to sign her ballot, leave it outside her house, and have the witness sign and return it. Then on April 2, U.S. District Judge William Conley waived the absentee witness requirement. Ms. Swenson put her ballot in the mail the next day. But the Supreme Court on Monday night overturned Judge Conley’s ruling, reinstating the witness requirement. Ms. Swenson’s ballot, mailed three days earlier, will not count. When she logged on to the state elections website to check the status of her ballot Tuesday, it said her completed ballot was not received.”

NYT: Why Wisconsin Republicans Insisted on an Election in a Pandemic (hint: not for the benefit of the people!)

  • “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders are on the ballot in Wisconsin, but the main event is the State Supreme Court race between the conservative incumbent justice, Daniel Kelly, and a liberal challenger, Jill Karofsky.”
    • “The winner will be in position to cast a deciding vote on a case before the court that seeks to purge more than 200,000 people from Wisconsin’s voter rolls — in a state where 2.6 million people voted in the last governor’s race. … But the election proceeding on Tuesday is not just about the voter purge case. It is the latest example of what many in the state see as a decade-long effort by Wisconsin Republicans to dilute the voting power of the state’s Democratic and African-American voters. Since 2011, when Mr. Walker led a Republican takeover of the state government, the G.O.P. has enacted one of the nation’s strictest laws requiring government-issued identification to vote. The ID must show a current address — a hardship for poorer black Milwaukee residents who live in neighborhoods with some of the highest eviction rates in the country. … The Republican majority also drew legislative and congressional boundaries that are widely considered the most gerrymandered in the country. During the 2018 election, Democratic candidates won 190,000 more votes for State Assembly seats, but the G.O.P. held a 64-35 advantage in the chamber.”
  • “In Wisconsin, the pandemic is hitting hardest in Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods, which are home to a critical Democratic voting bloc. Of the 83 coronavirus deaths in the state, 33 have been black residents of Milwaukee — 40 percent of the total in a state that is 7 percent black.

NYT: They Turned Out to Vote in Wisconsin During a Health Crisis. Here’s Why.

  • “Nyree Sanders, 45: ‘I just don’t get as to why they were so insistent that we have to vote today. Why don’t they take us into account? Why don’t they take our health into account?’”
  • “But the distress was hardly noticeable in other parts of the state that are less populous, more white, and more likely to vote Republican. … In Wauwatosa, which borders Milwaukee, polling locations were virtually empty as supply outpaced the demand. … Charlotte Rasmussen, the Republican chair of Clark County in central Wisconsin, said she had no concerns. ‘It’s been so far, so good. Things are going well, everybody is in protective gear and everyone is trying to practice social distancing.’ In Brookfield, a city in nearby Waukesha County, one resident said his polling location was adequately staffed, had good social distancing and was relatively easy to navigate. ‘Our kids are voting in Milwaukee and they’re definitely waiting longer than we did,’ said Bruce Campbell, 65. ‘You can feel the blue county, red county dynamics. It’s difficult to watch.'”
  • “Clarence Carter, 70, said he was voting in person on Tuesday because he filed for an absentee ballot weeks ago but did not receive it. His wife has health issues and couldn’t stand in the line, he said. … So why vote? ‘It’s the ballot or the bullet,’ he said, quoting the famous speech by Malcolm X.”

I’m not having a good day, if you can tell. My thoughts are with the people of Wisconsin right now. I don’t have much good to share right now, but I do hope you’ll take the time to read about why I’m so upset – and why you should be too.


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