Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Tuesday expressed concern that Wisconsin will proceed with holding its election amid a global pandemic, warning that it “may very well prove deadly.”
Polls are open in Wisconsin, which is under a stay-at-home order, despite efforts to postpone the election. Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order to halt in-person voting until June 9 — an order that was immediately challenged and ultimately overturned by the state’s Supreme Court.
— Speaker Robin Vos (@SpeakerVos) April 6, 2020
“It’s outrageous that the Republican legislative leaders and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court in Wisconsin are willing to risk the health and safety of many thousands of Wisconsin voters tomorrow for their own political gain,” Sanders said of the decision.
“Let’s be clear: holding this election amid the coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, disregards the guidance of public health experts, and may very well prove deadly,” he continued.
“For that reason, our campaign will not be engaged in any traditional GOTV efforts,” he added:
Let's be clear: holding this election amid the coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, disregards the guidance of public health experts, and may very well prove deadly. For that reason, our campaign will not be engaged in any traditional GOTV efforts.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 7, 2020
Even though the election is proceeding as scheduled, localities are expecting issues. For days, poll workers across the state have indicated that they will not work the elections due to coronavirus fears, leading to 2,400 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to undergo training to work the polling locations instead:
“While potentially serving as poll workers in this election is a new role for the Wisconsin National Guard, serving our state and civil authorities during times of need is one of our core missions,” Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said. “I’m incredibly proud of the Citizen Soldiers and Airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard for the versatility and adaptability they’ve demonstrated in getting ready to support this request for assistance.”
Polling locations have been vastly consolidated due to a combination of staffer shortages and an effort to maintain proper social distancing guidelines. In Milwaukee alone, polling locations have dipped from over 180 to just five, causing massive lines in the city, made longer by individuals attempting to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Here's a better sense of how the Milwaukee lines look, at just 730. Again most people wearing masks, trying to space pic.twitter.com/RNV093Nh4a
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) April 7, 2020
While Joe Biden (D) has maintained the edge in Wisconsin polls, the state’s final results will not be available until April 13 due to last week’s federal court ruling.