State Watch

Wisconsin tracking potential spread of coronavirus from Tuesday’s election

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is monitoring potential coronavirus infections that may have occurred among voters who cast ballots in elections held on Tuesday. 

Voters went to the polls Tuesday after a failed last-minute attempt by Gov. Tony Evers (D) to postpone the election. The governor’s executive order was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court. Voters were casting ballots for the Democratic presidential primary as well as a slew of state and local elections, including a position in the state Supreme Court and the mayoralty in Milwaukee.

The closure of polling stations because of a lack of workers over coronavirus fears led to long lines at the ones that were open, although state officials took steps to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus, while a record number of absentee ballots were also requested. 

“We will continue this important work to ensure that every case is followed up on, contacted, and anyone who may have been exposed notified. We hope the extraordinary efforts taken by local clerks, public health [departments], voters, and poll workers helped minimize any transmission but we stand prepared to respond if that isn’t the case,” DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said in a statement Friday.

Palm said that because of the speed with which the virus spreads, cases that were contracted on Tuesday probably won’t be known until next week. The state health department hired another 120 workers to help the agency inform people who may have been exposed. 

Every other state or territory that was scheduled to hold a primary in April has either moved completely to by-mail ballots or postponed voting until a later date. Wisconsin is set to announce results from the election at a later date.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes called the election a “shit show” in a Thursday morning tweet, putting the blame on the state’s Assembly Speaker and Senate majority leader, both Republicans.

Tags 2020 Wisconsin primaries Coronavirus
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