On Tuesday, voters across the state of Wisconsin were forced to choose between their health and their right to vote. After weeks of wrangling between the governor, the legislature and the courts, their primary and municipal elections are going on despite the ongoing danger of the coronavirus. Videos of long lines and crowded polling stations gave us a glimpse of how this could create a new outbreak. Many others chose not to risk their health, effectively forced to give up their constitutional right to vote.
It is the worst of both worlds. A low turnout election that could still cause countless people to get sick and even die. It didn’t have to be this way. Wisconsin officials could’ve worked together to delay the election and ensure that every registered voter who wanted to vote-by-mail could.
Wisconsin’s failures should be a warning to every other state, both for primaries scheduled in the future, and for the general election in November. We still have time to protect our elections and our health. To do that, we need every state to adopt no-excuse vote-by-mail protocols, even if only as an emergency precaution for this year’s election. By preparing in advance for additional vote-by-mail ballots, states will not have to scramble to find a way to deal with unprecedented absentee ballot requests.
Here are three things you can do right now to help prepare your state and your country to safely vote during this crisis:
1 — Email your senators and representative to urge them to pass emergency vote-by-mail funding legislation.
2 — Read our FAQ’s on vote-by-mail and share it with your friends.
3 — Double-check your state laws and voter registration to learn about your options when it comes to vote-by-mail in the general election. If you can, consider filling out an absentee ballot request as soon as you are able to.
No one should have to choose between voting and their health. If we start working today, we can ensure that no American is forced to make that choice in November.