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Wisconsin: The Case for Vote by Mail

Oregon’s Unions have started mobilizing union members and talking to voters about the May 19th Primary Election. While we can’t speak to voters through door-to-door canvassing, we are contacting working people across the state through phone calls, text messages, mail, social media, and every other tool available while maintaining social distancing guidelines. This week, we saw what happens when voters are asked to go to the polls despite the public health crisis we are all living in:

Voters are waiting in long lines in order to cast their ballots in Wisconsin's Democratic primary despite the risk of the coronavirus pandemic - MSNBC

Thankfully, Oregon is a vote-by-mail state. We can fully engage in voting without putting anyone at risk. Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor explains why Oregon’s election system helps working people engage in the democratic process:

“Voting by mail gives working people the ability to vote when they can. It means we can vote privately, and in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, it means voters can avoid an exposure risk. In some places, vote by mail increases voter turnout by as much as 50%. We hope to see more states adopt this system to improve safety and increase access to voting. Even without a pandemic to deal with, vote by mail gives more workers an opportunity to vote.”

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka admonished the U.S. Supreme Court in a statement to the press this week for allowing the Wisconsin election to proceed:

“It’s unconscionable that Wisconsin voters are being forced to choose between their health amid a pandemic and their constitutional right to vote. This anti-American decision silences tens of thousands of our citizens. That’s rank ideology, not blind justice. And with each passing day, Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the degradation of the highest court in the land.
The blatant voter suppression by both Republicans in Wisconsin and the Supreme Court is one of the darkest days for our judicial system. For decades, corporations and their political hired guns have rigged the economy against working people, and now they are coming after our democracy. We will not sit idly by as this becomes a country of, by and for the wealthiest few.
Taking away the fundamental right to vote that so many have fought and died for is disgraceful. Democracy in our country is dying, and those meant to uphold our Constitution have failed miserably in their duty. Working people see what’s happening, and we’re not going to stand for it in November and beyond.”


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