Whenever you see a ballot for the Spring election in Waunakee, you’ll see my name. I’m unopposed in my bid to remain the Municipal Court Judge. I start there to stress that the status of my election is not in doubt. I am not pushing a policy position in an effort to affect my campaign. Like it or not, I’ll be the Judge.
The following should be obvious: In the midst of a national health emergency when we are pleading with people to stay home, we should not hold in-person voting on April 7th. It would be dangerous to the voters and especially dangerous to the poll workers who generously volunteer their time to serve our community.
While I support and encourage voting by mail, as I have done, we should not restrict in-person voting and still stick with April 7th as the election date. To go that route, we would be giving citizens who intended to vote in-person virtually no notice that they must figure out how to vote by mail. We’d be disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters within Wisconsin who would otherwise vote in-person and the results of contested elections would forever be viewed as illegitimate.
Realistically, we can’t wait until in-person voting would be safe to hold our elections, because we don’t know when that will be. We cannot put our democratic process on an indefinite hold, nor do we have to. And should we transform this election into a mail-in only election, we need to give fair notice to the voters so that they can properly request their ballots. If we postpone the deadline from April 7th to May 21st (just to pick a reasonable date), everyone in our State who intends to vote should be able to figure it out. Six weeks is sufficient. For some, it will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but there is no perfect way to balance our democratic process and public safety.
I strongly urge our elected leaders who are responsible for making these difficult decisions to cast aside their usual political motivations and get to work. To Governor Evers and the members of the Wisconsin State Legislature, be above board. Make sure that our democracy and our public safety come before your preferred candidates’ chances. Both sides are focusing on political strategy in the midst of a national emergency and it needs to stop.
For safety and for fairness, postpone the election date and do everything by mail exactly as mail-in voting has been done in the past.