The ballot or biting the pandemic bullet

Jpharoahdoss
3 min readApr 20, 2020
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the Wisconsin presidential primary election at Marshall High School in Milwaukee

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lot of war analogies. The US Surgeon General called last week our Pearl Harbor moment. I think the war references are hyperbolic, but since war analogies are in the air, I decided to contribute to the war effort.

In 1940 France fell to the Nazis and became occupied. At the time world-famous French philosopher Henri Bergson resided in Paris. Bergson was 80-years-old, suffering from serious health problems, and on his deathbed. Bergson was born a Jew, but didn’t practice Judaism, he favored the Catholic faith. Before the outbreak of World War II Bergson explained why he never converted to Catholicism. He stated there was an increase in anti-Semitism due to the rise of the Third Reich, and, when it was time, he wanted to remain with the persecuted. The time came when all Jews in occupied France were ordered to register at their local police stations. Bergson was granted an exemption because of his fame, but Bergson rose from his bed, endured the harsh weather, and stood in line for hours with the others required to register. When Bergson finally entered the police station he signed as the following: Academic, Philosopher, Noble Prize Winner, Jew. It’s believed Bergson died days later from a cold he caught while standing in line.

On April 7, 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin’s Republican leaders forced the state to hold their primary election against the governor’s wishes. Right before election day Democratic governor, Tony Evers, signed an executive order suspending in-person voting and moved the deadline for absentee/mail-in ballots to June 9. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court overturned the governor’s order, ruling the governor had no authority to suspend or rewrite state election laws.

To make matters worse, there was an astronomical increase in absentee ballot requests because voters didn’t want to risk their health to vote. Due to the increase a lower court in Wisconsin extended the deadline for receiving mail-in-ballots for one week after election day. (Postmarked by April 13th instead of April 7th, a lot of voters received their absentee ballots days before the 7th while others were still waiting for their ballots to come in the mail.) But the US Supreme Court struck the extension down in a 5–4 decision. The five conservative US…

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Jpharoahdoss

J. Pharoah Doss is a columnist for the New Pittsburgh Courier.