Michelle Obama speaks out against Wisconsin making people vote in person

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Happy #InternationalWomensDay! Today, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating women all over the world—and in renewing our commitment to empowering the next generation. We started the @GirlsOpportunityAlliance to support adolescent girls who face barriers to education so they can pursue their passions, fulfill their boundless potential, and make their voices heard. That's why I'm thrilled that @LizaKoshy, @MostlySane, and @_Thembemathe visited Girls Opportunity Alliance programs around the world to see this important work in action. They’re sharing these stories, which showcase how education can transform girls’ lives and create a ripple effect for communities, in an upcoming special streaming on @YouTube Originals on March 17th. Click on the link in my bio to tune in and to empower girls around the world through education.

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

On March 13, Louisana became the first state to delay its 2020 primary, which was scheduled for April 4, and will now be held June 20. The state’s May 9 general election will be held on July 25. As of today, 16 states and Puerto Rico have done the same. On Tuesday, despite an Executive Order from Governor Tony Evers (who is a Democrat), Wisconsin’s primary went ahead as scheduled. The state’s Supreme Court voted 4-2 on Monday (along ideological lines) that Evers couldn’t use emergency powers to postpone the election. Also on Monday, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny Wisconsin’s Democrats’ attempt to extend the absentee voting deadline. Why would you want to make it easier and safer for people to vote? CNN reports that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who signed the “firey” dissent, unlike whoever wrote the majority opinion) wrote that “the reasoning of her conservative colleagues ‘boggles’ the mind.”

One person who voiced her disappointment in the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision was former first lady, Michelle Obama, who usually stays out of the political fray or makes her opinions known through thoughtful comments that don’t directly name specific individuals. Here’s a recap from People of Michelle’s comments:

“Today, Wisconsin voters had to choose between making their voice heard and keeping themselves and their family safe,” Mrs. Obama, 56, tweeted. “No American should ever have to make that choice.”

Wisconsin decided to continue with its state primary vote, despite health officials’ warnings for Americans to practice social distancing and refrain from public gatherings.

Scenes at polling places in Wisconsin showed voters waiting in long lines, many wearing protective masks, in order to vote on Tuesday. Some voters showed up wearing gas masks, while others handed off their ballots at a distance.

“We must do better to ensure voting is safe for all voters,” the former first lady continued, sharing information on how voters in Wisconsin can make sure their absentee mail-in ballots will be counted.

[From People]

CNN is one of the outlets that reported on what a nightmare this was:

Lines early Tuesday as voting began were long: So many poll workers quit that Milwaukee consolidated its 180 polling places down to just five locations — and in those locations, voters stretched around multiple blocks. Staffing at polling places looks different: Nearly 300 of the state’s National Guard troops will be replacing volunteers who quit.

And thousands of people requested absentee ballots ahead of last week’s deadline, but they won’t receive those ballots in time to mail them back, according to data reported by local clerks to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

[From CNN]

CNN reported that as of Monday night, there were 2,511 active cases of coronavirus in the state and 85 deaths.

This tweet, which you’ve probably seen by now, says it all:

captured in Milwaukee today by @Pmcknightnews, an intern with the @journalsentinel. pic.twitter.com/pCFjhOPuep

— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) April 7, 2020

Michelle, RBG (and other rational, intelligent people) are right: No one should have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. I wonder how many more people in Wisconsin are going to be diagnosed or have symptoms in the next two weeks, and how many of those people will be able to say that they were at a polling location on Tuesday? This makes me even more worried about what will happen in November if more Repbulcan-controlled state legislatures go into overdrive and try to hand Trump a victory. And, of course, to state the obvious, when they make decisions like that of the Wisconsin Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, they aren’t just endangering the lives of Democratic voters, they are endangering the lives of Republican voters and non-voters too.

We must do better to ensure voting is safe for all voters. The latest Wisconsin voting information is below. https://t.co/x1LwEb9H4N

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) April 7, 2020

On this #WorldHealthDay, I want to thank all the healthcare workers on the frontlines who have been risking their lives for us. I hope you’ll join me in expressing gratitude to the healthcare workers in your life. Whether through a text or phone call, it only takes a moment to let them know just how appreciated they are.

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