The Wisconsin Election: Voting Amidst Coronavirus Worries

On April 7, 2020, despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin voters came out to cast their support for political candidates. About a dozen other states, including New York,  postponed their presidential primaries until later in the year. The Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, attempted to push back the election about a day before. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court determined that the governor could not postpone, and thus the election was reinstated to April 7. 

 Voters wore masks and gloves while attempting to social distance in long lines on the day of the election. Because of the pandemic, it wouldn’t have been surprising if voter turnout was significantly less than 2016’s polls and previous years. However, 34% of the electorate showed up to vote. While it was less than 2016’s, it was more than 2012’s and equal to 2008’s. Barry Burden, the director of the University of Wisconsin’s Elections Research Center, said: “I think it is a sign of agitation in the electorate. We’ve seen this really during the Trump-era since he came to the White House: Turnout rates have been extremely high. The 2018 midterm election was the highest turnout in a century in any midterm.” Whatever the reason was, the Wisconsin residents’ dedication to support their candidates was impressive.

According to Wisconsin’s records of confirmed cases by day, there was no huge spike in outbreaks after the election. However, these numbers could be inaccurate due to lack of testing or symptomless carriers. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that they will be tracking the virus transmissions closely in the coming weeks as it does take time for Covid-19 symptoms to present themselves. Tony Evers is asking for $17 million to support local public health agencies.

As expected, Joe Biden easily won with 62.9% of Democratic votes in Wisconsin and Bernie Sanders had 31.8% of Democratic votes. For the Republican Party, Donald Trump won with 98.2% of votes.

Erica Brown ’22, Co Assistant Editor-in-Chief