[Note: All registered voters in Washington state receive their ballot and vote by mail. It’s also possible to request a ballot if you need to vote before the regular mailing—the application requires only your signature for verification.]
Dateline April 9. Tuesday was a nightmare in Milwaukee. Due to the lack of poll workers—most being elderly—and with the high number of COVID–19 cases spiking the city, polling places were canceled in droves. Neil Albrecht, Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, could set up only 5 polling sites that met the CDC guidelines.
The National Guard helped to fill in at some sites, but the lines were hours long. It was generally a very nice day, except that severe storms moved in around 6 pm. Most people stuck it out. The black community has been hit especially hard with the virus, so making them come out to vote under these circumstances was especially criminal. Yet it was a major election for our city. On Milwaukee’s ballot were races for mayor, county executive and many other local offices, plus the state Supreme Court.
Everything Governor Evers tried to do to postpone the election was blocked by Republicans. The week before the election, a Federal judge allowed an extension to April 13th to receive absentee ballots—so many were requesting absentee ballots that the state was having a hard time even getting them out in time.
Then the Republicans appealed the extension to the Supreme Court. Evers called a special legislative session on the Saturday before the scheduled election date to address mail in/postponement, but the Republican members refused to take it up. Evers had no choice but to try an Executive Order, but the Republican majority State Supreme court ruled—quite expeditiously—that he didn’t have the power to do it. Immediately after this ruling, the same justices overturned the federal court’s decision that had extended the deadline for absentee ballots.
On top of all this, in order to submit an application for an absentee ballot, Wisconsin voters are required to download a picture of an official photo ID and provide it to their municipal clerk’s office. This is obviously an obstacle for those who a) don’t have a smartphone, b) don’t have ready access to internet (note that libraries are closed due to coronavirus), c) don’t have an approved photo ID already (DMV has reduced hours and now requires appointments due to coronavirus), and d) don’t even know how to download and deliver electronically…it’s not so easy for technologically challenged.
As someone who has watched this bullshit go on for at least 10 years in Wisconsin with all the same players—save ex-Governor Scott Walker, who was ridden off into the sunset—even I am surprised at the lengths these monsters will go to stay in power. It has been very hard for me to follow the stay-at-home orders, when I want nothing more than to go out there and stir things up. But I need to settle down because it’s difficult to be rational right now.
And that’s what is needed…an intelligent plan to stop these bastards. I thought Elizabeth Warren had one. When I can come out of my home again, if we can ever come out of our homes again, I’m not going back to my employer or HR or payroll or any of that. I’m tapping into Zenobia.*
As in WWI, “disease and shell shock [are] rampant in the trenches” but communications from those hunkered down in them today remind us that another world is necessary.
*Zenobia was a cultured monarch who fostered an intellectual environment, a court open to scholars and philosophers. She was tolerant toward her subjects and protected religious minorities. The queen maintained a stable administration that governed a multicultural multiethnic empire. (Wikipedia)