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Greater than half a dozen states have pushed again presidential primaries due to the coronavirus outbreak. One state that hasn’t – Wisconsin, which has a main coming in about two weeks on April 7. Maayan Silver from member station WUWM in Milwaukee stories on why state leaders are holding on so tightly to that date regardless of a public well being disaster that is getting worse by the minute.
MAAYAN SILVER, BYLINE: One purpose the state is not altering the date – it is not simply the almost over Democratic main that is on the poll. This is Governor Tony Evers speaking to reporters at a press convention final week.
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TONY EVERS: I simply wish to ensure that individuals perceive the complexity of our spring common election. It is not a main election. It is solely a main election for the presidential candidates.
SILVER: Many mayors and county officers whose choices are essential throughout this pandemic are additionally on the poll.
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EVERS: How lengthy will we probably go away workplaces not crammed as a result of we’re into July, August and we’ve not held a common election?
SILVER: Many high-profile leaders right here have stated the state ought to delay, though election officers level out that Wisconsin has no-excuse mail-in voting. Persons are requesting absentee ballots at a record-setting tempo. However there is a political and authorized combat over how to answer the virus. Democrats have sued, saying these uncommon circumstances justify extending on-line registration deadlines to verify individuals can request mail-in ballots with out going to the polls. And a federal court docket has agreed. Republicans say deadlines have been put in place for a purpose and complain that clerks in rural areas aren’t making certain sufficient early voting takes place.
Clerks have to offer some in-person early voting regardless of well being issues, says Reid Magney, a spokesman for the state elections fee.
REID MAGNEY: They can not simply say that no one goes to get to come back into metropolis corridor or village corridor or city corridor to vote. They’ve to supply some hours. They’ll alter that primarily based on their very own wants, however they can not simply say, we’re not doing it.
SILVER: It is unsure how that might be enforced, as some locations, together with Milwaukee, have canceled in-person early voting out of concern for election employees’ security. There are many different challenges, too – course of all these absentee ballots, discover cleansing provides for polling locations. Then there’s discovering ballot employees, half of whom are over 60. Magney says most individuals will in all probability vote absentee. But it surely’s inconceivable for Wisconsin to shift to an all-mail-in election at this level, says Barry Burden, College of Wisconsin political science professor. He says, anticipate turnout to be decrease.
BARRY BURDEN: Fortuitously, the Democratic presidential nomination has principally been settled by this level. In order that’s one fear that no less than is off the desk. And I feel Wisconsin might be of some worth for election officers across the nation to see how a state that had some weeks to organize tailored.
SILVER: Voters are nonetheless making efforts to be counted. Sarah Stangle, nicknamed Starah, says getting an absentee poll is one additional burden at a troublesome time. After being laid off, she’s making use of for unemployment and determining make ends meet.
SARAH STANGLE: I will be getting an absentee poll for positive as a result of I do not suppose it is secure to go to the polls, truthfully.
SILVER: One other Milwaukeean, August “Augie” Ray, is sticking with what he is aware of.
AUGUST RAY: I’m 83 years outdated, and I’ve voted in each election that I used to be eligible to vote in. And I intend to vote within the upcoming election in April, and I intend to vote on the polls.
SILVER: Ray lives a two-block stroll from his polling place. He plans to carry a sanitizer wipe.
For NPR Information, I am Maayan Silver in Milwaukee.
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