Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Republican Hypocrisy on Election

Why wouldn’t Vos, Fitzgerald postpone the election? Because they were safer.

By - Apr 6th, 2020 02:33 pm
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Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald.

Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is a brave man. 

While refusing to postpone the election and make it a mail-in election only, Vos let the media know he would be volunteering at his polling place. But that’s in the small city of Burlington, which was planing to conduct a drive-through election only.

By contrast, the City of Milwaukee, should the election be held, could have 10,000 or more people coming to each voting location and would allow up to 50 people into the polling place at a time. Needless to say that would mean far more chances for human contact and the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. 

Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, invited Vos to work at one of Milwaukee’s polling places “located in the hot spots in the city,” as the Journal Sentinel reported. Vos hasn’t accepted the offer.  

Gov. Tony Evers just-announced decision to cancel the election will be challenged in the courts, and it’s far from clear how that will be resolved. But in understanding why Republicans felt comfortable going on with the election, you need to consider where they live.  

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald votes in the tiny city of Juneau, with a population of 2,680, which won’t be seeing many people congregating for the election. 

Along with Burlington, the Town of Hayward in northern Wisconsin is one of many smaller municipalities that has planned a drive-through election only  The state Elections Commission wrote a memo noting it had many local election clerks seeking information about this and it approved their use, while spelling out rules to follow.

These all tend to be areas represented by Republicans, while officials in heavily Democratic cities like Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Racine, where voting in person involves large numbers of people gathering, have pleaded with the Legislature to postpone the election and move to a mail-in ballot vote only. 

Most of the COVID-10 cases have been urban areas, where it is literally a life-or-death decision whether to work the polls or show up to vote.  Half of all the cases in Wisconsin are in Milwaukee County, with most of those clustered in the black community. Milwaukee health officials have been pleading with African American residents to stay at home, to reduce the transmission of the disease. 

But Vos seems oblivious to the problem. “Milwaukee could easily use city staff to open polling places like many other municipalities are doing in addition to their poll workers… It appears they want problems instead of an actual solution,” he tweeted.

“I think his commentary is very disrespectful and dismissive of the many people that have come forward to support this election and those that have had to make the difficult decision to decline out of concerns for their health,” Albrecht responded.

One such poll worker was Daina Zemliauskas who was scheduled to be a chief inspector at her polling place in Madison. She told Wisconsin Public Radio she was brought to tears by the decision she faced. “I feel guilty. I wanted to hold out,” she said. “But, of course, the risk was just too great.”

The most important thing government does is protect people’s lives. Across the nation, 15 states have postponed their spring election or gone to vote-by-mail only. Wisconsin was the only exception, the only one still holding an in-person election. 

Prior to the pandemic becoming so clear, Michigan held its in person election on March 10, but one week later Ohio canceled its March 17 election. 

Dr. Robert Salata, an infectious disease expert with the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine, told Cleveland.com that Michigan’s presidential primary “could be a possible factor in the state’s elevated cases,” compared to Ohio, “because large gatherings of people make it easier for the disease to spread.”

Why have Vos and Fitzgerald been the only public officials who didn’t move to protect people from disease and death? Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) told Urban Milwaukee that legislators of both parties could see the absentee vote in Milwaukee was down in the black community versus predominantly white wards. This would likely mean fewer votes for liberal Jill Karofsky, assuring the election of conservative Dan Kelly, who looked unlikely to win prior to the pandemic. 

A lower turnout election generally favors Republicans and an election where urban voters face a much greater risk of getting a deadly disease is an ideal scenario for a GOP victory. Vos gave the game away with this comment: “I’m looking forward to the pride that I’m going to feel knowing that there were hopefully a million Wisconsinites who did the right thing and cast their ballot, whether by mail or in person, because democracy has to continue,” he said.

One million votes? That would be less than half the total for the 2016 Wisconsin presidential primary, when some 2.2 million votes. With that kind of election, Kelly’s election would be assured, as would the further spread of coronavirus.

If the courts do uphold Evers’ decision, there is likely to be a mail-in vote only, which is still likely to favor Kelly, but it won’t be as assured. But it will be much safer for the residents of Wisconsin.

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More about the 2020 Spring Primary

Read more about 2020 Spring Primary here

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here

5 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Republican Hypocrisy on Election”

  1. jnor says:

    Clearly, the conservatives on the WI Supreme Court think gaining another conservative on the bench is more important than people’s lives.

  2. Andrew Docktor says:

    The anger I hold towards the WI GOP will never wane. I hope the voters of WI will never forget this stunt. Perhaps a flash mob in Burlington or Juneau would shake them up.

  3. rubiomon@gmail.com says:

    We must make Vos and Fitzgerald PAY for their anti-democratic shenanigans! Enough is enough!

  4. Barb- West Bend says:

    Yes, jnor. The supposed pro-life stance by our Republican leaders is only for the unborn fetus. Pro-life only from conception to birth. After birth…not so much.
    The blood of those who were forced to vote in person and became infected and got sick and died will be on the hands of Vos, Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Supreme Court Conservatives who ruled not to delay the election; and the conservative
    members of the U.S Supreme Court who, by their decision, condemned those forced to vote in person to do their civic duty during a PANDEMIC. Within a very short time we will see the cases of Covid-19 escalate along with Covid -19 deaths here in Wisconsin all because of the greed for power by those oh so religious conservatives who consider themselves pro-life. Wisconsin will soon be the nations Covid-19 hot spot. These conservatives are shameless and disgusting with NO SENSE OF DECENCY.

  5. kcoyromano@sbcglobal.net says:

    These two idiots have to go. They should be ashamed of themselves. Disgusting/

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