The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature was, as of Monday, considering a bill (AB 1071) to add the 2020 presidential preference primary election to the second Tuesday in March rather than keeping it with April 7 spring election and presidential preference primary as is customary.
Since the other regular primary is scheduled for Feb. 18, 2020, the Republican proposal would mean elections in February, March and April.
The move is designed purely to enhance the election prospects for a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, supposing that fewer Democrats would vote in the presidential preference primary.
As a poll worker for the past 12 years, I am opposed to adding another election because of the extra cost (estimated at $7 million for state municipalities) and because it would be confusing to voters and difficult to prepare for three separate elections in a very short period of time.
County clerks who oversee these elections have made their concerns very clear about the problems this will cause.
Another action being considered by the Legislature in this bill would require applying for an absentee ballot in person, something that could be very difficult for voters who don’t drive, who live in nursing homes or in rural areas without public transportation.
Changes like this should not be made in a one- or two-day lame duck session without adequate opportunity for public participation. It violates the very essence of our democracy.
Gretchen Skoloda, La Crosse