Politics and the Pandemic: In-Person Voting Continues in Wisconsin’s Congressional Special Election

The coronavirus has continued to upend all aspects of American life, specifically during a contentious and pivotal election year. The April primary election in Wisconsin highlighted the dangers involved in balancing the foundational democratic duty of voting with public health concerns during a global pandemic after a controversial decision from the Wisconsin state supreme court paved the way for in-person voting in the state’s April primary election.

State health officials have since reported over 50 individuals tested positive for the coronavirus after either voting or working at polling locations on April 7, 2020. Despite the criticism Wisconsin received for long lines and a lack of social distancing at a reduced number of polling places, the state proceeded with another election on Tuesday, May 12th to fill a seat in the 7th Congressional District. Some government and election officials are now calling for a November general election to take place entirely by mail. In a departure from past voting practices, others still are preparing to facilitate widespread absentee voting nationwide in the general election.

In the video above, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission and a local government official from Racine County, one of the nation’s hardest-hit counties, discuss election-related concerns the state is currently grappling with as it prepares to carry out a November general election that may take place against the backdrop of a second-wave of COVID-19.

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