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We need all-mail voting

Well, let’s not do that again. On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters braved contracting COVID-19 at polling places after high court justices, in two dramatic, 11th hour decisions, closed off alternatives to in person voting. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Gov. Evers lacked the constitutional power to postpone the election. In turn, the U.S. Supreme Court slapped down a federal judge’s plan to extend absentee voting.

We’ll let the legal scholars sort out whether the two supreme courts upheld the law or merely paid allegiance to their political and ideological backers. And we’ll leave it to historians to determine whether Wisconsin’s GOP legislative leadership was craven enough, as alleged by exasperated Democrats, to pursue a political advantage even at the cost of needless coronavirus deaths.

We can put that all aside: but we need to move forward with a less lethal way of voting. We can’t repeat Terrible Tuesday. We are not free Americans if the only way you can vote is by putting your life on the line.

Our favored alternative is all-mail voting. Currently, five states--Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah--have all mail voting statewide. Other states allow counties to opt in or out. Like any system of voting, all mail voting has its pros and cons. But we think this system has one major advantage over the current in-person system. It doesn’t kill people.

We know that the GOP legislature will fight all-mail voting. Gov. Evers suggested this plan (alas, too late) and it was shot down.

That means the people who risked infection on Tuesday need to demand all mail voting in one big, loud voice not for next year or five years from now. We have to have it in the Seventh District congressional race in May and, of course, the presidential contest in November.

We cannot again put this state’s citizenry at risk. We need to act now.