In a new op-ed in Essence, PFAW Senior Director of Outreach and Public Engagement Diallo Brooks addresses voting rights amid the coronavirus pandemic, and stresses the need for safe and fair access to the polls during our elections.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended almost every aspect of daily life, but its effects on this year’s elections are of particular importance. The most recent example comes from the Wisconsin primary, held on April 7. While the governor wanted to push the primary and postpone the absentee ballot deadline due to COVID-19, the Supreme Court ordered that the primary proceed as planned, requiring people to choose between their health and their right to vote.
“Those problems were created by design – and not just in Wisconsin, either. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Republican lawmakers in states across the country are scrambling to block our access to the polls– a move that, like so many voter suppression tactics, was designed to disenfranchise Black, Latinx, Native American and low-income voters.”
Fortunately, there are changes that can be made to ensure safe access to the ballot box, including expanded voter registration, mail-in voting, and early voting. These changes would ensure that coronavirus won’t jeopardize anyone’s voter registration or prevent anyone from casting their vote, but they have to be fought for—and now is the time.