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Sydney Badeau: Disabled voters need access to absentee ballots

Sydney Badeau: Disabled voters need access to absentee ballots

Dear Editor: As someone living with a disability who does not drive and has spent more than a year stuck in my home because of the COVID pandemic, I am confused by Sen. Duey Stroebel’s column. He says his voting bills will make it easier for people with disabilities to vote and then goes on to list the ways it will actually be much harder for people to obtain a ballot easily. He shares no evidence that people with disabilities have been caught committing fraud.

Instead, he shares data that last year's requests for indefinitely confined status went way up. That wasn’t because people wanted to cheat. It’s because we were stuck at home — truly “indefinitely confined” and not knowing when it would be safe to again go out to crowded public places, like polling sites. He says 293,000 people requested that status, so some of those folks must be making an untrue claim. But census figures show that more than 395,000 Wisconsin residents are over age 75, and another 492,000 of us are living with disabilities. And during the pandemic, all of these people were at much higher risk of getting really sick or even dying of COVID.

That’s why many older adults and people with disabilities, for the first time ever, requested to be listed as indefinitely confined so we could keep getting our absentee ballots during the multiple elections during the pandemic. For me, absentee voting was the only safe way to vote this year. And many people with disabilities and older adults don’t have computers or scanners to upload our state IDs to a website. It makes me sad and mad that legislators are claiming to try to help us when all we want to do is vote safely and fairly.

Sydney Badeau

Brodhead

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