Holding the Election Could Kill People
Vos and Fitzgerald must wake up. There's overwhelming evidence that people gathering for election will spread disease.
Anyone trying to make sense of GOP resistance to Governor Tony Evers’ common-sense call to end in-person voting need only refer to history. Judging from Wisconsin Republicans’ cavalier attitude toward limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it’s fair to assume they haven’t.
Just over 100 years ago, communities around the country ignored warnings that the Spanish Flu was not only lethal, but capable of spreading exponentially. Parades marched on. Church services continued. Schools remained open. Fear of an unseen microbe wasn’t enough to persuade skeptics that it was safer at home.
In 1918, Nebraska’s Wayne County lifted a ban on public gatherings just five days before the fall general election, just as the Spanish Flu was peaking in the plain states. According to Kristin Wilkins of Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs), an authority in pandemics:
…lifting of the quarantine also had the greatest number of obituaries and notices of illness of influenza or pneumonia to date. The disease appeared to be reaching a significant amount of the population, greater than ever before; and the timing coincides with the lifting of the quarantine.
More recently, Michigan proceeded with its March 10 primary as scheduled. The Wolverine State’s recent uptick in cases is attributed in part to—you guessed it—In-person voting.
Of course, we know much more about epidemiology today than in the wake of World War I, but one incontrovertible fact hasn’t changed: quarantine works. Pretending business is usual contributes to a pandemic. If Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald were to read history, they’d know that in 1918, indifference to contagion cost 17 million lives. That’s an awful price to pay for apathy.
The GOP legislature must reconvene. Its job is to fix this mess and it ought not abdicate responsibility. If it does, Governor Evers may have no choice but to invoke emergency authority to stop in-person voting, lest history repeat itself.
Tom Nelson is the Outagamie County Executive.
- Why Don Natzke Couldn’t Vote - Enjoyiana Nururdin - Aug 9th, 2020
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlights public health measures taken by the Milwaukee Health and Fire Departments, Department of Administration, Election Commission, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Aug 4th, 2020
- CDC Says Election Did Not Cause COVID-19 Spike - Erik Gunn - Aug 4th, 2020
- Pandemic Reduced Black Vote, Study Finds - Dee J. Hall - Jun 25th, 2020
- Did April Election Hike COVID-19 Cases? - Alana Watson - May 20th, 2020
- Elections Commission Notes ‘Lessons Learned’ - Henry Redman - May 19th, 2020
- Wisconsin Elections News: WEC Releases Analysis of Absentee Voting in April 7 Spring Election - Wisconsin Elections Commission - May 18th, 2020
- Election’s Impact on County’s COVID-19 Cases Unclear - Jeramey Jannene - May 6th, 2020
- Why State’s Voting By Mail Was Chaotic - Daniel C. Vock - May 4th, 2020
- At Least 40 COVID-19 Cases Tied to Election in Milwaukee - Graham Kilmer - Apr 24th, 2020
Read more about 2020 Spring Primary here
- WI Daily: 329 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Mar 7th, 2021
- WI Daily: 206 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Mar 6th, 2021
- Surprising No One, Senator Johnson Votes Against Relief for Wisconsin Workers and Families - Opportunity Wisconsin - Mar 6th, 2021
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Votes to Pass the American Rescue Plan and Support Wisconsin - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Mar 6th, 2021
- WI Daily: 350 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Mar 5th, 2021
- DHS and Laboratory Partners Identify Variant Strain B.1.351 of SARS-CoV-2 in Wisconsin - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Mar 5th, 2021
- Many South Side Seniors Now Eligible for Vaccination at Kosciuszko Community Center - Sup. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez - Mar 5th, 2021
- State Vaccine Hotline Up and Running - Graham Kilmer - Mar 5th, 2021
- County Targeting Vulnerable ZIP Codes for Vaccine - Graham Kilmer - Mar 5th, 2021
- Ron Johnson Pushes Conspiracies Ahead of Possible Third Term - Shawn Johnson - Mar 5th, 2021
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here