Mail-in voting requires fewer poll workers to put their lives at risk from COVID-19

In the Wisconsin primary in April, so many poll workers dropped out because of the pandemic that the number of polling places in Milwaukee had to be reduced from 180 to just 5.

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Voters in Milwaukee on April 7 wait in long lines because the number of polling places was reduced after poll workers dropped out, fearing infection from the coronavirus.

Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

In a letter on Friday, a Sun-Times reader argued that in-person voting, at a polling place, should be the only option in the great majority of cases. The reader wrote: “People are complaining that they shouldn’t have to risk their health to vote. People died to protect that vote.”

In the days before the Wisconsin primary on April 7, at the height of the pandemic in Milwaukee, many elderly election poll workers in Milwaukee were concerned for their health and dropped out. As a result, the number of voting locations in Milwaukee was reduced from 180 to just five, and many voters had to stand for hours to exercise their right to vote.

Would we have preferred that those elderly poll workers put their lives very much on the line? Many of them already had taken enough chances in defense of our freedom. I am very thankful to the many who have sacrificed so much to keep the rest of us safe, but to have others needlessly put their lives at risk seems absurd.

Voting should be easy and fair, free of fraud. I wish those who protest mail-in voting had the same concern for the rights of voters who show up at the polls, only to find that they have been removed from the rolls.

Kevin Coughlin, Evanston

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GOP voter suppression

There is no evidence that mail-in elections compromise security or privacy. The opposition to mail-in voting is nothing more than another Republican effort at voter suppression. They know they can’t win elections if everyone is allowed to vote. The lack of integrity on the right is astounding!

Michael Shepherd, Bellwood

Coronavirus humbles us

Someone recently said to me, “Hopefully, we will learn what we need to know from this pandemic.” I don’t think she was referring to the plethora of information scientists are poring over to corral this contagious disease.

To my mind, one lesson to be learned is humility.

Yes, our amazing skyscrapers poke through the clouds. We can fly planes with hundreds of people on board. We can build highways through mountains and dig deep into the earth for water and oil. We have walked on the moon, and now Mars is within reach. Technology is bursting with one brilliant innovation after another, forever changing the way humans navigate the world.

Yet an invisible intruder brought everything to, if not a screeching halt, then at least a nightmarish stumble in the dark. The COVID-19 virus reminds us that we are but mortal, and therefore always vulnerable.

It is best we stay humble and ever vigilant.

Kathleen Melia, Niles

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