Mail your vote

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

Buena Vista County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Sue Lloyd deserves our committed support in her call for everyone to consider voting by mail in upcoming elections. With a June primary fast approaching and the coronavirus setting in, Lloyd sees absentee voting as the surest way to conduct a fair and smooth election. Her office stands ready to count those ballots and assure a safe election for everyone.

Gov. Mike Dewine, R-Ohio, postponed his state’s primary from last Tuesday to a date undetermined. That was probably the right call, if late. Primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois went on, but same-day voting was muted, understandably. These were not ideal voting conditions for anyone, including the poll workers. Imagine if we have to delay the November general election because of virus concerns, because we rely on same-day voting. It is something we cannot abide.

That is one of Lloyd’s concerns. She is asking the legislature to allow her to consolidate polling locations if necessary because of a lack of poll workers. In Illinois, there were reports of workers not showing up for fear of long lines, which forced some polling sites to merge at the last minute.

In California, before the surge in concern over the pandemic, voters waited hours in line to vote in their primary. Some gave up and went home.

Mail ballots are safe and secure. They cannot be hacked. They avoid crowding. You may request a ballot by mail from the Buena Vista County Auditor’s Office, PO Box 220, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588. You also can find more information and request forms either at the county elections website or the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.

Be a part of the solution. Vote by mail.

Getting through this

Nobody truly knows what we are in for. Gov. Kim Reynolds declared an emergency lasting until at least April 16. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes the pandemic will peak in the Big Apple in 45 days. The federal government in a 100-page planning document unveiled by The New York Times on Wednesday says it will take us 18 months to work through the public health threat — just about the time a vaccine will be ready for market.

Our world economy has been rocked by the shock of the pandemic. Congress and the Trump Administration are talking about at least $1 trillion in a first stimulus package, and still the markets dropped Wednesday on the news, since the Senate was dragging its feet on action. It appears that the markets want an immediate cash infusion into the hands of workers affected by layoffs, paid sick leave and relief for essential industries.

We wonder what happens to all the little mom-and-pop restaurants built over the years by sweat, shuttered, and all the people who count on them for their daily fare of tips. Those are the people we need to be concerned with first. It appears that Congress gets it, with proposals for direct payments to families of $1,000 to $6,000 by April. Indecision or hedging by leaders will not be rewarded. Congressional negotiators have been talking about a one-year time frame for extended worker benefits. It will need to be framed longer.

Ag commodity prices generally have been sliding with oil prices. President Trump already hinted a third trade bailout payment for farmers to get them through another year. He had better come through with it. And, he had better figure out a way to help the ethanol industry, which is about flat on its back with the slump in oil prices. Saudi Arabia and Russia are killing the renewable fuels industry with an assist from the EPA. This crisis is a reminder that we need to make a big turn into a renewable energy economy. Perhaps the shock will be enough to wake us up to the urgency.

The USDA this week affirmed its commitment to keep the food processing industry working. One of the best ways to avoid panic is making sure that the food supply chain is functioning. Storm Lake and Buena Vista County made it through the avian flu with workers keeping their jobs and getting paid. It appears that the government and the food industry are prepared to work together to keep food healthy and plentiful.

The next couple years will test us as a community, state and nation. The crisis at hand might bring the sort of changes we’ve needed but ignored for many decades, such as health care for everyone, more research funding into animal and human disease, and a stronger safety net to protect working folks. It will require strong leadership, patience, tolerance and sacrifice from the most fortunate for the least fortunate. And it requires all of us to work together so we can pull through this thing as we know we can.

Articles Section: