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Republicans suppressed April 7 vote

2.2 million deaths in the U.S. On April 18, the University of Washington released the latest projection: 60,308 - a factor of 36 times less. In the end, the death rates will be similar to a bad year of seasonal flu, which many have voiced all along. What do I conclude from all this? Fear-mongering rules the day as well as using an inflated crisis to advance agendas and blame President Trump no matter what he does. Why are we including anyone who dies with coronavirus in the totals of those dying of coronavirus? Why, if not to inflate the numbers?

Tony Evers has released Badger Bounce Back, his plan to re-open Wisconsin. Simply put: it’s no good. First, it’s still a one-size-fits-all approach that treats all 72 counties as if they are Dane and Milwaukee. Second, it provides for more testing and tracking. What will random testing of 85,000 people per week accomplish? What an unrealistic number and a colossal waste of resources! You can get tested today and get the virus tomorrow. Thirdly, numbers can be fudged here just like with absentee ballots to get the desired result of not opening the economy.

I resented reading in an op/ed in this paper a few issues back that President Trump “was indirectly responsible for a death in Arizona” because he rightly mentioned hydroxychloroquine showed promise in coronavirus treatment. That decision was between the patient and their doctor. Even Detroit Democratic Rep. Karen Whitsett praised the president for saving her life in her battle with the coronavirus by treatment with hydroxychloroquine.

I think the Democrat leadership has welcomed the Chinese coronavirus as if it were a late Christmas present. Never waste a good virus! They were/are drooling over the opportunities to lay waste to the economy and ram through pet projects and policies while blaming President Trump for everything they can. I hope America was watching as Nancy Pelosi and company held up financial help for Americans in an effort to fund the Kennedy Center with $35 million, Green New Deal items, election law changes, $15 minimum wage provisions among other outrageous demands that had nothing to do with actually helping provide financial help for businesses. The games continue today as they are blocking additional funding for the small-business loan program.

Americans (and Wisconsinites) cooperated with the “flatten the curve” plan. We may have needed a pause to assess the situation. Beyond that, the government’s role was to keep us informed and help provide resources where needed. It is not the government’s role to violate the Constitution by taking away our rights (I’m appalled by how willing we were to surrender them). We all make risk-reward decisions every day. We now know what to do to protect the vulnerable among us and we also know our economy needs to open - now! Other states have realistic plans which are opening segments of their economies immediately. I’m embarrassed that our governor chooses to put his ideology ahead of the needs of our small businesses and citizens. Come on, Gov. Evers, we demand better!

Randy Wokatsch Town of Marathon

To the Editor: Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature went to great lengths to make voters go to the polls last week. Seventeen states had already postponed their elections and all-mail voting is done in five states, but rather than agree to a method that would maintain the integrity of the election and protect voters, the Republicans opted to force a face-to- face vote.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, wearing a face mask, gloves and protective gown, had the nerve to tell Wisconsin voters, “You are incredibly safe to go out.” More than 860,000 Wisconsinites didn’t believe him and voted absentee. Election personnel estimate many thousands of other electors did not want to take a chance and just stayed home. At least one voter has verified their fears and tested positive for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Republicans have severely gerrymandered the state to allow legislators to pick their voters. April 7 was their latest effort to suppress, rather than increase, the number of people voting. They were following the lead of President Trump. He said if measures to increase the number of people voting were enacted, “You’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

In this instance, Wisconsin Republicans thought a low voter turnout would help elect a conservative Supreme Court justice that, in turn, would vote to purge 209,000 people from the state’s voter rolls.

When Republicans prevented Wisconsin from postponing the election or going to a mail in election, they did so to reduce voter turnout, protect their political power and knowingly put the electorate at great risk.

Regardless of which candidates won, we all lose when there are efforts to stymie voting.

Anita Slone Neillsville

To the Editor: This past weekend we saw protesters defy health guidelines by gathering to demand an end to Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order. Though dangerously ill-advised, both the protest itself and policies it called for are predictable reactions to the ongoing shutdown. We all want life to get back to normal. We all want to get a haircut and a beer at the bar.

However, those we elect to public offi ce have a duty to look beyond what might be immediately popular to what is genuinely in the public interest. Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature are failing this critical leadership test badly. Instead of working with Gov. Evers during this crisis, they are pandering to the reckless and self-centered “open everything now” crowd, going so far as to threaten to challenge the Safer at Home order in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

No one can deny the profound negative impacts, both economic and personal, the shutdown has caused, from record unemployment to being unable to comfort your mother in a nursing home or hospital when the end is near. However, experts across the board strongly agree that the consequences of prematurely returning to business as usual would be far more catastrophic. Despite the current limited level of economic activity in our state, far too many essential workers still on the job are working without adequate personal protective equipment; their workplaces are not sufficiently cleaned and sanitized; recommended social distancing is not universally practiced. We’ve seen the result — many have contracted the virus and sadly, a growing number have died. Some manufacturing and food processing plants have even temporarily shutdown as a result.

Imagine what will happen if Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, and the GOP get their way and we ignore the advice of health professionals and prematurely lift restrictions before we have the capacity to effectively address the pandemic. Many more inadequately protected workers will return to the job and immediately get sick. Many more of our neighbors will leave the hospital in body bags.

We support Governor Evers’ efforts in this crisis and call on each and every elected official to set politics aside and work to become part of the solution.

Stephanie Bloomingdale President Wisconsin AFL-CIO