Voting at Your Own Risk
The Naked
Truth
by Jamala Rogers
Wisconsin voters, job well done. State Republicans stacked a bunch of obstacles in
your path on the way to the April 7 elections. In the deadly face of COVID-19, you
persevered and claimed some victories along the way. Still, I wonder about the risks
you took and what will be the consequences. This is not what democracy looks like.

The nation had heard about the voter suppression tactics the Republicans were using
in Wisconsin long before the election. The most insidious was forcing the election
during the worst pandemic in a century. In a series of Machiavellian moves, the GOP-
dominated legislature and courts refused to reschedule the election. This forced
Governor Evers to use the power of his office. Both the state’s Supreme Court and the
U.S. Supreme Court joined the Republican pile-on. upholding the election and blocking
efforts to loosen absentee voting restrictions. Their actions underscored the
importance of appointments to these judicial bodies.

Wisconsinites braved long lines — exacerbated by the fear of the virus — to cast their
ballots in numbers underestimated because of the virus and previous voter turnout.
Democrat Jill Karofsky soundly defeated Daniel Kelly, the incumbent backed by trump.
The victory now puts the Wisconsin Supreme Court at four conservatives and three
liberals.

About 7,000 poll workers refused to report for duty. This legitimate personal decision
was in recognition of the corona virus fear but had the adverse impact of reducing
polling sites. In Milwaukee, only fives sites were open as opposed to the usual 182. It
does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how this scenario impacted voter
participation in Wisconsin’s largest city.

In voting limbo are 230,000 voters currently on the purge list. This is another scenario
that is sure to be a factor in the November election. The fate of these predominantly
Democratic voters is in the hands of the courts. This is yet another ruse by
Republicans to disenfranchise voters under guise of minimizing voter fraud, a fear
that has yet to be
substantiated.

States around the country were closely monitoring Wisconsin and will continue to do
so. How many hoops will be put in front of voters in the November election by
Republicans? What will be COVID-related barriers that will face voters? Whether man-
made or biological, the barriers are real and represents serious setbacks to one of
the most prized
expressions in our democracy —the vote.

Some misguided white folks, motivated by trump, have taken to the streets to defy the
stay-home and “liberate” the state’s economy. Evoking the name of civil rights icon
Rosa Parks, trump ally Stephen Moore is pumping up an April 24 protest at the capitol.
Those who  believe in democracy must mobilize for policies and practices that protect
the
rights and lives of all people, not a few.

COVID-19 is testing our intelligence, our governmental systems, our relationships, our
sanity. We must triumph over the virus while at the same time fighting for democracy.
It cannot be either/or; it cannot be sequential.  with the politricksters busy at work,
empowered citizens must do both. Wisconsin, you have shown us how to do that.