Letter to the Editor: Two Votes That Didn’t Happen

Folks in Door County may not have had firsthand experience with the loss of their ability to vote in the April 7 elections, but the decision to hold the election despite the coronavirus pandemic meant that many Wisconsin voters were unable to participate.

I would like to share a story about my mom, Denny Stratte, age 92; and her friend Jake Jacobsen, age 100. (Shortly after my dad, Bud Stratte, died in 2010, Mom moved from Egg Harbor to Milwaukee.)

Mom and Jake live in an independent-living facility in Milwaukee. Both use walkers to get around, but they are indeed very independent.

Voting is very important to Mom and Jake. They wear their “I voted” stickers with pride. Jake tells me that he had voted in every election for the last 79 years (when he turned 21) – until last Tuesday. 

With their walkers to support them, Mom and Jake have a tradition of walking the two blocks to the church that is their polling place. Then, after their votes are completed, they head back to Eastcastle Place via Starbucks on Downer Avenue for an afternoon treat. 

However, on this Election Day – like at 175 other polling sites in Milwaukee – their polling site was closed. The nearest place to vote was two miles away, which was too far for them to walk. Mom said she had been willing to vote in her face mask, but the two-mile distance and the six-hour wait in line was too much. Sadly, they – along with thousands of other registered Wisconsin voters – were deprived of their ability to vote in an important election.

We believe that the election that was held on April 7 should have been postponed until June, as ordered by Gov. Evers. It was irresponsible and wrong that Speaker Robin Vos and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald chose to appeal the governor’s order to the Supreme Court. I told my mom and Jake that their story is an important one. They agreed to allow me to share it with you.

Kathy Stratte

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin