Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt and Wisconsin NOW President Lindsay Lemmer
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Voter suppression is one of the most insidious forms of racism this country faces. When even one vote is suppressed it makes a mockery of our Constitution and our ideals. Yet the conservative majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is playing partisan political games during a pandemic and putting people’s lives, and right to vote, at risk. They are forcing the people of Wisconsin to choose between putting their health in peril, or exercising their civic duty to vote.
What happens in Wisconsin has broad implications going forward as the challenge of holding elections during the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop. Rather than pushing for expanded access to voting, lawmakers are trying to prevent a seismic shift in who ultimately leads our legislatures and instead they are trying to restrict voting rights and disenfranchise communities of color, particularly African American communities, who may have the most impact at the polls.
As we manage our new reality throughout this pandemic, we need to be flexible when it comes to the voting process. From expanding in-person early voting to extending ballot counting deadlines, what we need is to focus on keeping people safe and educating the public on these new developments. What we don’t need is a rushed and risky voting day like we are seeing in Wisconsin today.
Wisconsin NOW members and leaders are hard at work on the ground, volunteering with phone calls and text banks to provide the information needed to vote absentee, and even stepping up to physically volunteer at the polls as many high-risk poll workers have had to cancel.
NOW is dedicated to making sure that every vote is counted and that the people of Wisconsin have their voice heard. We will rise up against these underhanded voter suppression techniques.
Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary , firstname.lastname@example.org