To the Editor:
During these unprecedented times, we have sheltered in place not to spread the coronavirus. We have applauded health care workers, the first-line of defense. But we also need to give a standing ovation to Wisconsin's citizens forced to put their lives on the line simply to exercise their right to vote.
Government leaders have taken oaths to protect our ". . . unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," yet Wisconsin's legislature, its supreme court, and the U.S. Supreme Court failed to protect these rights, causing Wisconsinites to stand in severe rainstorms to vote in their state's primary.
The leaders asked citizens to shelter in place, then forced them into long lines, inches from their fellow voters in circumstances that could have spread COVID-19. The voters cared more about our democracy and a foundational cornerstone - the right and responsibility to vote - than those in power to protect them.
In overturning Wisconsin's governor's attempt to postpone in-person voting due to the coronavirus, tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters were disenfranchised.
The Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area League of Women Voters is proud to be nonpartisan, always working to empower voters and defend democracy. As such, we hope that the Wisconsin debacle will not be repeated in South Carolina.
We trust our state leaders to enact alternatives such as postponement of our primary elections should the virus still put our citizens at risk, the use of mail-in voting, and expansion of absentee voting.
Voter Services Chair
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Area League of Women Voters