(Beaver Dam) State Representative Mark Born fielded calls from some listeners Thursday criticizing his party’s lack of action in the election during a pandemic. Republicans blocked an eleventh-hour attempt by the governor to postpone the election, successfully arguing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the proposed change would violate the state constitution. One caller on WBEV’s Community Comment connected the election to voting restrictions championed by Republicans nationwide.
“President Trump said making it easier to vote would hurt the Republican party, do you agree?” the caller asked.
“I don’t think that…more people voting hurts any one particular party in any way, I don’t agree with that,” Born said.
One caller suggested Republicans were more interested in a partisan victory than the lives of their constituents.
“It sounds like your making a lot of excuses to make yourself feel better about having this election,” another caller said, “I think you put a lot of people’s lives on the line.”
“Thanks for sharing your thoughts, certainly I’ve been having conversations with folks along those same lines all week,” the Beaver Dam Republican says, “I’m sorry that that is how it worked out. You can call it what you want, ‘excused,’ ‘facts,’ the ‘situation’ all we can do is operate with the information we have and make the best decisions.”
Another caller drew a connection directly between the race for Supreme Court and the shortages of polling places in Milwaukee, where only five of the city’s 180 polling places were open with waits of up to four hours reported.
“Because they knew if it was held it would greatly reduce the Milwaukee turnout, which is predominantly democratic,” a third caller stated, “and that would enhance the re-election of the candidate for state Supreme Court that Republicans support, so they wanted to make sure they reduced that turnout in Milwaukee, which will probably prove to be a successful endeavor.”
“The numbers I’ve been seeing so far from the head of elections in Milwaukee,” Born says, “was that if the number of absentee ballots that they expect to come in yet do come in, that the numbers in the city will be on average for a spring election turnout.”
Another caller drew connections between restricted access at the polls in Milwaukee and voter ID laws which Republicans contend stops voter fraud but Democrats say disenfranchises more voters then it protects. Born noted the number of ways the law makes it easier to obtain an ID in Wisconsin.