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Photos, videos show Wisconsin voters lining up at the polls: coronavirus

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  • As dozens of states have postponed their presidential primaries, Wisconsin’s Tuesday election is still proceeding as scheduled.
  • After the state legislature refused to delay the election, courts blocked multiple lawsuits and an executive order from Gov. Tony Evers attempting the postpone the election to June.
  • On Monday night, the US Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision extending the absentee ballot deadline to April 13, meaning many voters faced a choice of voting in person or not casting a ballot at all. 
  • Stunning photos and videos recorded on Tuesday morning showed voters armed with masks and gloves attempting to socially distance while waiting in line in some cases for hours.
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People throughout the state of Wisconsin are arriving to vote at polling locations on Tuesday morning armed with masks and gloves, attempting to practice social distancing while waiting in line possibly for hours.

As dozens of states have postponed their presidential primaries to May or June, Wisconsin’s Tuesday election is still proceeding as scheduled, despite the Governor telling Wisconsinites to stay at home after Republicans in the state legislature refused to act in order to postpone the election or make it all-mail.

In the past week, a federal judge ruled against a number of plaintiffs attempting to delay the election, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ last-minute attempt to postpone the election to June with an executive order on Monday.

While Judge William Conley did not formally delay the election, his April 2 ruling extended the deadline for voters to return absentee ballots from April 7 to April 13 and removed the requirement that voters secure a witness signature for their absentee ballots, ordering clerks not to release any results until April 13 on Friday

But in a decision issued late Monday night, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Judge Conley did not have the authority to extend the absentee ballot deadline, deciding that all absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day and arrive by April 13 to be counted. 

As of Tuesday morning, the Wisconsin Elections Commission reported that over 400,000 absentee ballots sent out to voters had not been returned, with an additional 9,400 voters who requested ballots but did not receive them in time. 

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively left voters who had not yet received their absentee ballot with a difficult choice: either risk their health to wait in long lines in order to vote in person, or not vote at all. 

The threat of the coronavirus outbreak has created a massive shortage of poll workers, who are disproportionately older and at greatest risk of contracting COVID. Cities have close down multiple polling locations due to understaffing, meaning voters have to wait in massive lines in many places.

Milwaukee, a city of over 500,000 people which usually has 180 open polling locations, is operating with just five on Tuesday, creating hours-long lines to vote. 

Here are some of the long lines captured in Wisconsin: 

 

 

 

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