Madison poll worker says ‘no’ to staffing election during the pandemic

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Lynn Danielson knows how to make tough calls. 

As editor of the editorial pages at the Cap Times in Madison, Wisconsin for 11 years, Danielson is practiced in weighing arguments for and against an idea.

A year ago she retired, which freed up the veteran newspaperwoman to pursue activities she had no time for before. Danielson has used her retirement to pursue her passion for voting, volunteering for a nonpartisan registration drive. And she offered to work the April 7 election. 

Courtesy of Tim Chapman

Lynn Danielson, a retired Cap Times editorial page editor, says the pandemic forced her to make the hard decision not to work at her local polling place on Tuesday. “I just didn’t feel safe,” says Danielson. Photo taken April 3, 2020.

“I’ve never worked the polls before,” Danielson said. “It’s one of the things I wanted to do since I retired.”

But 10 days ago, she “pulled the plug,” regretfully informing the Madison City Clerk’s office that she would not work on Tuesday because of her concerns over the pandemic.

Danielson, 66, had been “angsting” over whether to go ahead, concerned about the possible risk to herself and her husband, who is 70.

“I think voting is hugely important, and I felt really badly having to cancel,” she said. “But our health has to come first. I just didn’t feel safe, and I don’t think people who come to vote in person will be safe, either.

“How can you stay at home safely and go to the polls at the same time?”

She has an opinion on that. 

You can’t. 

“I sure wish that the Democrats and Republicans had showed some bipartisan concern, got together and postponed the election.”

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