Governor Pritzker and mixed COVID-19 policy

Monday afternoon during his daily COVID-19 press briefing, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said the following (a day after he criticized President Trump and the federal government for being “completely unprepared” in response to the pandemic):
“Look, we have to have our elections continue. In my opinion, this is the right thing to do. Our democracy needs to go on. We need to elect leaders … The most important thing is that we’re taking every precaution. Every time somebody goes and votes on a voting machine that people are touching, it’s being wiped down. We have guidance to all the election judges to make sure to maintain social separation distance.”

The governor should not throw stones when he is building a glass house made of mixed policy. Many small business owners across the state are temporarily losing their livelihoods while I write this op/ed, as Illinois bars and restaurants close at 9 p.m. tonight for dine-in service through March 30th.
Temporarily closing down schools, casinos, video gaming, restaurants, bars and state offices, and limiting gatherings of people to under 50 were tough decisions for the governor to make, and I applaud him for doing so. I also give the governor credit for his daily COVID-19 briefing that my family has watched daily.
With that said, keeping the primary as scheduled when election judges are not prepared, and most likely will not be properly trained to disinfect thousands of election booths, is a major public health policy misstep while infections soar around the country.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, was proactive enough to sign off on postponing the state’s primary until June. The effort in Louisiana was bipartisan with both Republicans and Democrats working together to do what they think is best to flatten the curve of infections.
For those of you who have voted in Carterville, you know our valued election judges skew towards an older-age demographic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, those over 60 are at the highest risk for fatal illness if they are infected with COVID-19.
Governor Pritzker, please consider this a lesson to learn from. You must keep your messaging and policies consistent while the residents and business owners of Illinois endure unprecedented and radical changes in their lives due to the global pandemic.

Devin Miller / Publisher
Carterville Now