COVID-19’s Impact on disenfranchised voters in Wisconsin and Beyond

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As voters in Wisconsin cast their ballots in person today, Page Gardner, founder and board chair of the Voter Participation Center, released the following statement regarding the right to vote. The Voter Participation Center and its partner organization, the Center for Voter Information, run the nation’s largest mail-based voter registration and turnout programs, and work to help members of the Rising American Electorate – young people, unmarried women and people of color – register and vote. This month, the organizations are sending nearly 12 million pieces of registration mail to prospective voters in 20 states, including Wisconsin.

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Protect Health Or Exercise Right To Vote

"With people of color bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, they join others in facing an unnecessary choice - protect their health or exercise their right to vote. Elected officials who ask Americans to choose between their right to vote and their health, and in some cases their lives, should be ashamed of themselves. They are making it clear they would rather press for a supposed political advantage than safeguard the lives of their constituents, as we’re seeing in Wisconsin today. This pandemic should not be an excuse to further disenfranchise voters in Wisconsin, or anywhere. The confusion around the state’s primary today and all of the last-minute changes likely will leave historically disadvantaged voters on the sidelines. We are witnessing the weakening of America’s system of democracy.

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"The Rising American Electorate, a critical voting bloc of communities of color, unmarried women and young people, are those who are the most marginalized and the most at risk now. We must empower them to make their voices heard - not cast them aside - ahead of the critical 2020 election.

“In addition to offering accessible mail-in voting options, states must also provide safe ways for voters to vote early and participate in primary and general elections in person. Our democracy depends on its citizens being able to exercise their right to vote safely. The long lines we are seeing in Wisconsin today are irresponsible, dangerous, and potentially lethal. Other states can and must do better.”


About Voter Participation Center

The Voter Participation Center registers and mobilizes the Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, communities of color, and young people. VPC has registered more than four million people since 2003 and works to inspire underrepresented groups to increase their civic engagement and permanently change the American electorate.