The 2020 election is less than two months away, and between a pandemic and disinformation, a lot has been thrown in the way of casting a ballot.
And state and local leaders want to make sure voters have the information they need to have their voices heard this year.
The “Vote Safe Project: Your Vote Counts,” is a nonpartisan, virtual roundtable that will highlight the voting process and how to vote safely this year in the Coulee Region. Voters can tune-in to the virtual event at 7 p.m. Sept. 22.
The roundtable will include voices from both sides of the aisle: with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, former Attorney General JB Van Hollen, Reid Magney of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and Ginny Dankmeyer, the La Crosse County clerk.
“We felt that was critical, to make sure it was a nonpartisan event. It is open for anyone of any party or however you vote. This isn’t an agenda of any sort,” said Julie Nelson of Great Rivers United Way, the group hosting the event.
“It’s just trying to provide true, accurate information in allowing people to make their own decision from there, based on correct information,” she said.
The event will also be supported by the La Crosse Tribune, WIZM radio, WKBT-TV, WXOW-TV, LeaderEthics-Wisconsin, League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, retired political science professor Joe Heim and Valley View Rotary.
“This event cuts through the noise, the rumors and the misinformation about voting in the November election,” said Anthony Chergosky, an assistant political science professor at UW-L. “Voters need to know the truth — not the partisan spin, not an ideological agenda, just the truth about making their vote count.”
“This is not a Democratic Party event, and this is not a Republican Party event,” he added. “This is an event for friends, neighbors and all community members. This is an event for all voters.”
Voters have been met with a lot of hurdles this year, as the pandemic has caused many to weigh the risks of in-person voting, and misinformation has spread about the safety and security of mail-in voting.
As of Monday, more than 1 million voters in Wisconsin have requested an absentee ballot, 21,463 of those in La Crosse County.
“There’s been so much information and misinformation about the voting process. Clearly we’re in the middle of the pandemic so people want to vote safely for their health, and they want to make sure their vote counts,” Nelson said.
“So that’s really what we’re doing, is to provide accurate information so the people can make an informed decision and decide how they want to vote this year,” she added.
“The La Crosse Tribune is pleased to participate with Great Rivers United Way and our other community colleagues in this critically important initiative,” said Sean Burke, publisher of the Tribune. “The civic importance of voting and requirement for confidence in each vote cast is the bedrock of a functioning democracy.”
The roundtable will be held virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22. The event will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of Great Rivers United Way, WXOW-TV, WKBT-TV, WIZM radio and the La Crosse Tribune, and will also air live on WIZM NewsTalk.