/ Letters / Wisconsin Republicans are beyond the pale

Wisconsin Republicans are beyond the pale

April 19, 2020

To the Editor:

In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority in both chambers of our legislature and thus, control it. In an astonishing disregard for public safety, they have chosen to place their partisan political objectives above our health and well being, in some cases, our very lives.  

As of Saturday, April 6, 2,440 Wisconsinites had tested positive for COVID-19, 77 had died. According to Dr. John Raymond, President of the Medical College of Wisconsin: “The number of cases in Wisconsin is doubling every three days, which is consistent with the situation elsewhere in the United States and in Europe.” That means the figure is growing exponentially “unless we do something different.”

Rather than do “something different,” on Tuesday, (April 7), Republicans forced Wisconsinites to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote, and protecting themselves, their families, neighbors and poll workers from a pandemic virus. This is an outrage, and proof that elections have consequences.

Governor Tony Evers has tried — unsuccessfully, due to Republican legislative opposition and court challenges — to postpone our April 7 election, so as allow for mail-in voting by absentee ballot. This would be consistent with 15 other states and one territory, that have either delayed their elections, or have switched to mail-in voting with extended deadlines. Wisconsin is the outlier. 

The Milwaukee Journal reports: 

“In a scathing letter to the GOP leaders, Wisconsin Elections commissioners sharply rebuked Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who have repeatedly said they consider in-person voting to be safe despite national and state health officials warning to avoid contact with other people.”

They warned “that the safety of those who want to vote in person on Tuesday cannot be guaranteed. Nor can the safety of poll workers.” “Forcing an in-person election on Tuesday not only threatens the voters, the clerks, and election staff, it threatens everyone those people subsequently come into contact with at home and elsewhere. A single asymptomatic virus-carrying poll worker could transmit the virus to hundreds of people on election day, creating a disease vector that would devastate a community.”

The question is: Why? Why would our Republican legislators place us at risk rather than delay an election? What does that tell us about their judgement and commitment to public service, to serve us: We The People?

Both Senator Tom Tiffany and Representative Rob Swearingen have stated their support for in-person voting. 

Senator Tiffany is running for the U.S. Congress, his name will appear on the May 12 special election ballot. Given the virus, please make an early request for an absentee ballot.

Representative Swearingen’s term expires in 2021.

Elections matter. Let’s elect people who represent us, not themselves.

Rick Plonsky




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