The games appear to be over for now, and Wisconsin will carry on with its primary election tomorrow. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to postpone the state’s primary and put in place vote-by-mail, but each effort was blocked by the Republican state legislature.
The nation is in the midst of a public health crisis, so the GOP legislators have unsurprisingly come under criticism for their refusal to postpone the primary election. (read more)
Poll Worker Crisis Exacerbated by Coronavirus: Local officials in Wisconsin are almost certain that their cities will suffer from a poll worker shortage this year. Stay-at-home orders and fears about the coronavirus have led to poll workers, many of whom are elderly Americans, canceling en masse.
And, in states like Wisconsin, turnout matters. President Donald Trump’s margin of victory in 2016, for example, was less than 23,000 of the more than 2.9 million votes cast. (read more)
COVID-19 and Voter Suppression: Right now is a critical time, and how we proceed at this moment could significantly impact the 2020 election. Voting-rights groups are worried that bad actors might try to use the crisis to launch voter suppression efforts.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation, for example, is one of the latest civil rights groups to call on Congress for another stimulus package with adequate funding for elections. During a call with reporters last week, the group called for more funding for vote-by-mail and early voting.
AGF wants people to vote from home because voters might not want to stand close to one another in line for hours amid a global pandemic. But, as seen in Wisconsin, bad actors are “using this moment” to suppress voters, AGF’s managing director Maxim Thorne told reporters.
Expanding Access to the Ballot Box — Unfair for Republicans? Every now and then, Republicans are saying the quiet part out loud when it comes to voting rights. This time it was President Donald Trump about vote-by-mail:
“[Democrats] had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said on Fox & Friends last week. Unsurprisingly, his sentiments were promptly echoed by state Republicans, many of whom have spent years disenfranchising eligible Americans. (read more)
A number of groups, including the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, condemned these comments as yet another example of the GOP “[admitting] they lose when more people vote.”
Census Day, and Getting Counted: This year, April Fools’ Day was also National Census Day. It marked the start of the next decennial census — which impacts redistricting and how federal resources are allocated — and is (usually) when census workers begin their field operations.
Stay-at-home orders, however, have made it nearly impossible for the Census Bureau to knock on doors and count people. So, voting-rights groups are giving a helping hand and encouraging folks to complete their form online.
The census form takes less than 10 minutes to complete online, but it can also be done over the phone. Folks who prefer the old handwriting method can also request, online or over the phone, that a census form be mailed to them. (read more)
Major Voting Rights Victory for College Students: Young voters have one less obstacle to overcome in order to vote. All Florida colleges will be allowed to have early voting sites on campus without any strings attached this November. And, even if the fall semester is postponed for students, the decision could have serious implications for future elections.
The announcement came following a six-year legal battle and after the GOP-controlled state legislature snuck in a last-minute provision in a bill to restore felons voting rights that required any early voting site to have “sufficient, non-permitted parking.” That requirement caused universities to reconsider whether to request an early voting site on campus, because they would have to cut back on already limited parking for students and faculty. (read more)
WhoWhatWhy and readers’ picks of the week:
- Coronavirus Voting: Democrats Renew Drive for Changes, While GOP Pushes Back (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Gerrymandering Is Bad for Democracy. The New Doc ‘Slay the Dragon’ Shows How to Fight It. (Vox)
- The November Election Is Going to Be a Nightmare (Washington Post)
- Red America Is Becoming a ‘Democracy Desert.’ Coronavirus Threatens to Make it Worse. (Rolling Stone)
- Facebook Is Blocking a Million Accounts a Day to Protect the Election (Yahoo)