Sara Lonardo,, (202) 412-2153

Issued April 06, 2020

SEIU’S Henry: Courts aiding and abetting Wisconsin voter suppression efforts


SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Service Employees International Union International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement after court decisions prevented Wisconsin’s primary election from being postponed, forcing voters to choose between casting their vote or potentially exposing themselves to coronavirus:

“By siding with Republican state legislators, supposedly impartial jurists on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court are forcing Wisconsin voters to choose between their vote or their life. As Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent, many voters who have requested absentee ballots have not even received them yet. That no doubt includes people who are at high risk of contracting coronavirus, who will now be forced to risk their health by voting in person if they want to have a say in how their state and country are governed. 

“We can protect people’s health and their right to vote.

“There are lifelong Wisconsin voters in nursing homes who have not received their ballots. Able-bodied voters have followed up several times to receive an absentee ballot so they can vote safely, but still haven't heard anything. The hard truth is that many of the impacted voters are people of color, who have already seen their votes suppressed by the same politicians who refuse to yield to reality now.

“Wisconsin voters will be forced to crowd into a drastically reduced number of polling places in the midst of a pandemic. This primary cannot be a preview of November. President Trump has already admitted that keeping people from the polls is how Republican politicians win. All Americans must join together across race to fight this voter suppression and ensure that we fulfill the promise of our democracy.” 

SEIU joined together last week with civil and voting rights groups and other unions to take legal action to secure safer and stronger voting rights in the Wisconsin primary for all voters. SEIU represents 12,000 working people in Wisconsin.