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. Credit: Courtesy of Tim Chapman

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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. 

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. Credit: Courtesy of Tim Chapman

“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.

Credit: Dee J. Hall / Wisconsin Watch

“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.”

Dee J. Hall

Hall, a co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, joined the staff as managing editor in June 2015. She worked at the Wisconsin State Journal for 24 years as an editor and reporter focusing on projects and investigations. Previously she was a reporter for eight years at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, where she covered city government, schools and the environment. During her 35-year journalism career, Hall has won more than three dozen local, state and national awards for her work, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin. She can be reached at dhall@wisconsinwatch.org