I proudly signed on to a letter being circulated by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities circulated Friday and Saturday asking Governor Evers and legislative leaders to offer options and solutions to local communities, like us, poised to begin early in-person absentee voting on Monday.
In fact, I helped write the letter the League then shared with all of its members seeking support on Friday. That’s how strongly I feel about this.
Now, let me be clear: We have taken sensible measures to protect everyone who will be coming to City Hall to vote in the next two weeks, and at polling locations on Election Day. You can see them in the pictures with this post: dots on the sidewalk leading into the building, allowing only a limited number of people in at once, confining voters to only the lobby of City Hall, separating our clerk’s staff by plastic glass, even handing out pens to be thrown away once people use them.
And we will be staffing up to enforce these measures.
But I hope it doesn’t come to that. Request a ballot online, via email or by mail. Details here.
Or, better still, act, Governor Evers, Sen. Fitzgerald and Rep. Vos.
Here is the full text of the letter …
Dear Governor Evers,
We want to thank you for your leadership during the past couple weeks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been thoughtful, responsible, and smartly aggressive, as you take the actions necessary to reduce spread of the illness and keep Wisconsinites safe.
We urgently ask you to apply that same approach to voting. Please take action now to reduce the risk of our residents, members of our staff and our election workers, and to avoid unnecessary disenfranchisement of voters.
In almost all communities across Wisconsin, in-person absentee voting will start on Monday, and continue for the next two weeks. Based on our experience in the last few days, it is almost certain that large numbers of people will show up at government buildings to vote this way. The health risks involved will become a bigger issue with even more coming to vote on the actual Election Day, April 7.
Please offer us solutions to prevent this from happening.
Your office has been presented with a number of options for protecting citizens’ health and rights to vote by various local government organizations. But as yet we have not seen a sufficient response from the state.
Advice and orders from federal, state and local public health professionals is clear: Limit personal contact, especially in large groups (more than 10 currently). Please give us the tools to live by this when it comes to voting.
We recognize concerns about disenfranchisement, and we fully support our rules around elections in normal situations. But these are not normal circumstances — and the potential for disenfranchisement is actually higher if we proceed like we are. Many people will stay away from the polls for fear of contacting COVID-19, or spreading it, unless something changes.
Please do not force citizens to choose between getting sick, or voting. Act now.