USA Today / Gannett: ‘Warning sign:’ Wisconsin’s messy primary shows struggles states could face in November election
USA Today / Gannett: 'Warning sign:' Wisconsin's messy primary shows struggles states could face in November election
WASHINGTON – Hours before polls even opened in Wisconsin, voters lined up to cast their ballots at one of five polling stations in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city.
Many wore face masks and tried to keep at least 6 feet apart as they waited in line. Typically, the city has 180 polling locations. But the reduced number meant wait times to cast ballots at some locations were several hours. Thousands of voters never even received the absentee ballots they requested. One Milwaukee voter said she requested hers almost three weeks ago, but it never came.
“I have a father dying from lung disease and I have to risk my life and his just to exercise my right to vote,” Jennifer Taff said while standing outside Washington High School in Milwaukee, holding a homemade sign that said: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS.”
This is what it’s like to vote during a pandemic.
Wisconsin is the first state to hold a primary when much of the country is under stay-at-home orders – including the Badger State – amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried Monday to postpone the primary at the last minute, both the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, and voters headed to the polls Tuesday. Results weren’t going to be released until next week. …
Jay Heck, the Wisconsin director of Common Cause, a voting-rights advocacy group, said voters face a difficult choice between wanting to vote and protecting their health.
“Wisconsin’s absentee ballot rules are no doubt disenfranchising voters,” Heck said.
Heck said the governor and Legislature have seven months to correct the problem to “avoid this kind of chaos” for the November general election.