Wisconsin Voters Head To The Polls Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Long lines for voters in Wisconsin today after GOP lawmakers were able to stop a proposed postponement of the state primary due to COVID-19.

Wisconsin is the first state to proceed with in-person voting since most states enacted stay-at-home orders.

Wisconsin Democrats wanted to extend absentee voting and even postpone the election altogether, but state Republicans fought to block both in legal wrangling. Democratic turnout is expected to be low due to the virus and today’s deadline for mail-in ballots.

From the Washington Post:

Hundreds of voters stood in lines that stretched for blocks in several Wisconsin cities Tuesday morning to cast their ballots amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, a chaotic start to elections in the state that went forward only after a last-minute legal battle.

Morning scenes at the polls across Milwaukee — which was able to open only five polling locations, down from 180 — underscored the near-unprecedented challenge facing election administrators one day after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers sought to suspend in-person voting in light of the covid-19 pandemic, an order that was quickly reversed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The decision was a victory for the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, which had declined to postpone the election and filed a legal challenge to Evers’s order, arguing it exceeded the governor’s constitutional authority.

No results will be released until Monday as so many mail-in ballots (which have to be postmarked by today) are in play.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, there were 1,273,374 absentee ballots mailed out and 864,750 were returned which already exceeds the record 830,763 absentee ballots received in the 2016 general election.

The New York Times reports there are voters waiting in line for up to two hours in Milwaukee where there are only five polling stations open instead of the usual 180 polling sites.