Thousands of Wisconsin voters are at the polls today, despite warnings about the danger from coronavirus transmission from public health officials.
“In person voting would, without question, accelerate the transmission of COVID-19 and increase the number of cases. And in increase in the number of cases in Wisconsin would result in more deaths,” Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday.
Palm’s remarks were made after Governor Tony Evers issued an executive order to delay the election until June 9.
In-person voting is happening because the state Supreme Court rejected Evers’ order to delay the election, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all absentee ballots must be submitted or mailed by 8:00 PM tonight. Ballots postmarked later than that will not count.
A voter just sent me this video of the line outside a polling location at Riverside High School in Milwaukee pic.twitter.com/osT7mQtUQx
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) April 7, 2020
Many municipalities have consolidated polling places due a critical shortage of poll workers. The Wisconsin National Guard is providing personnel at polling places. Those soldiers and airmen are out of uniform and working in their local communities.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has provided extensive guidance to local clerks, regarding safe social distancing practices at polling places.
The high court let stand another part of a federal judge’s ruling from last week, which will allow local clerks until next Monday, April 13, to count ballots. That means results from the Democratic presidential primary, state Supreme Court and hundreds of local elected offices will not be known immediately.