Wisconsin co-chair will be Milwaukee County Supervisor Dr. Sheldon Wasserman
MILWAUKEE — Former U.S. Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders will co-chair a research project on the health implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on in-person voting in the Wisconsin election. Dr. Elders will be joined as co-chair by Milwaukee County Supervisor Dr. Sheldon Wasserman, a highly respected obstetrician who is also a former state legislator. Dr. Julie Fagan, a distinguished Associate Professor Emerita of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin who previously served as President of the Dane County Medical Society, will also serve as a member of the project.
The project will include epidemiological analysis estimating the likely number of COVID-19 infections resulting from in-person voting as well as case studies of individual voters. As of April 29, Wisconsin state health officials had identified at least 52 COVID-19 cases among those who had worked or voted in-person during the April 7 spring general election.
In RNC v. DNC, the Supreme Court rejected a lower court deadline extension for receiving absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s April 7 election, the day before that election. As a result, some Wisconsin voters who planned to vote by mail were forced to vote in person instead, despite Governor Tony Evers’s Safer-At-Home order. Officials at the time expressed concern that some voters might spread and become infected by the coronavirus while waiting in line to vote or while casting their ballots.
According to Dr. Elders, “When voting is unsafe, democracy suffers, and I am honored to spearhead the investigation into the health implications of voting in person during the recent Wisconsin election.” Dr. Elders, a professor emerita at the University of Arkansas, is a pediatrician and public health administrator who served in former President Bill Clinton’s administration as the 15th Surgeon General of the United States.
“We should all take seriously when partisan court majorities undermine democracy, and at the same time potentially undermine public health,” said Dr. Wasserman, who represents Milwaukee’s east side and north shore neighborhoods on the County Board and formerly served as a state representative. “I’m honored to help lead this project to take an objective look at the public health consequences of these political decisions.”
“There’s no reason we have to choose between the health of our families and the health of our democracy,” said Dr. Fagan. “Wisconsin voters deserve to fully understand the consequences of the Court’s ruling.
The new research initiative is sponsored by Take Back the Court (TBtC), whose mission is to inform public policy conversations about the dangers of the current Supreme Court, and to prevent the Court from striking down new laws designed to restore democracy. According to TBtC’s director Aaron Belkin, any research reports released by the new project will undergo rigorous peer review prior to publication.
Wisconsin voters or poll workers who believe they became infected with coronavirus while voting or while working at a polling station during the April 7 election are encouraged to contact project researchers at https://www.highgroundwi.org/covid19.
About Take Back the Court
The Supreme Court has broken democracy by dismantling the Voting Rights Act, allowing dark money to flood our politics, and approving partisan gerrymandering. The mission of Take Back the Court is to prevent the Court from striking down new laws designed to restore democracy. For more information, visit us at www.takebackthecourt.today and follow us on twitter @TakeBacktheCt.