The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Dying to vote In 2020


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Apr. 08, 2020 - 12:04 PM

Donate To Support Local Journalism.

Please consider making a donation so we can continue to bring you the latest news and information on COVID-19 in our community.

Donate Now
Dying to vote In 2020

The Newnan Times-Herald

In 2014, Forbes magazine published an article repeating the claim that you are 18 percent likelier to die on the way to vote than you are to cast the deciding vote.

Those odds are likely to increase in Wisconsin, as the U.S. Supreme Court overrode the governor’s decision to postpone the election and insisted voters either cast their ballots in person or have their absentee ballot postmarked on Election Day.

This isn’t going to be just Wisconsin’s problem. It’s very likely that it could be your problem in the coming weeks, or months, unless our legislators take better care to protect the voters, as well as the integrity of the elections.

As CNN wrote “The high court Monday night reversed lower court orders allowing an extension for absentee voting by six days. The majority dismissed concerns about Wisconsin residents going to the polls in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.”

It’s worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court did not vote in person…they voted remotely, in the interests of personal safety. As Yahoo writes “Hypocritically, the justices cast these votes remotely—and are canceling oral arguments in some of their other cases—to protect themselves from the coronavirus, while they are forcing Wisconsin’s voters to choose between risking their lives, and the safety of their communities, versus their right to participate in democracy.” It’s not just democracy for me, not for thee, but safety for me, not thee.

Many residents did not get absentee ballots to even postmark on Election Day. A friend from Milwaukee requested an absentee ballot three weeks ago, and did not receive one. He had no choice but to vote in a state where there are more than 50 deaths already due to the Coronavirus and most polling stations are closed, worsening the chances for safe social distancing.

When asked about it at a press conference, Donald Trump chose not to make it an issue of safety for the state’s white and black residents. He claimed the Democratic Governor only wanted to move it when Trump “recently” endorsed a Wisconsin GOP Supreme Court candidate seeking a full term, the only reason the state’s Republicans even wanted to hold the election in a predictably low turnout contest. Yet on the Wisconsin GOP’s own website on January 15, 2020, it reads “In case you missed it, President Donald J. Trump endorsed Justice Daniel Kelly for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court during his “Keep America Great” rally in Milwaukee on Tuesday.” Obviously, he endorsed Kelly a lot earlier than early April, undermining his own argument.

Trump also attacked voting by mail. He called mail-in voting “very dangerous” and “corrupt,” even though he votes by mail, according to Yahoo News.

A “poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 72% of all U.S. adults, including 79% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans, supported a requirement for mail-in ballots as a way to protect voters in case of a continued spread of the respiratory disease later this year,” writes Reuters New Agency.

My wife and I voted early in Georgia’s presidential primary, expecting this sort of train wreck. A request for an absentee ballot for our state primary on May 19 came with an address to send our request to, that doesn’t exist. A student in Central Georgia confirmed for me that this is a problem in the counties in his area too. Sadly, it’s likely that Wisconsin’s problem is likely to be your problem, either in a remaining primary, or this Fall, unless there is true election reform.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. His views are his own. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.