Tuesday, April 7 seems about right!
Hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, plexiglass, gloves, and face shields.
UPDATED: A federal judge is allowing Wisconsin’s non-partisan and presidential primary election to proceed next Tuesday, April 7. In a blessed display of judicial restraint, the judge said he didn’t have the power to postpone the election (not the least of which, it’s not a federal case!).
TODAY, Friday (04-3-2020) at 5 p.m. is your last chance to request an absentee ballot. Do it here.
The judge’s waiver of the required witness signature is being appealed. Also under appeal is maintaining electronically transmitted proof of identification. To be safe, provide both. Ballots will count if postmarked on April 7 and received by April 13. However, that later date is also under appealed.
Absentee ballots can be dropped off by noon Election Day April 7 at
- Central Library dropbox – 201 W Mifflin Street, Madison
- Pinney Library dropbox – 516 Cottage Grove Road, Madison
- Sequoya Library dropbox – 4340 Tokay Boulevard, Madison
⇒ Wisconsin is the only state holding an election at this stage of the pandemic.
Governor Evers is saying, “If I could have changed the election on my own, I would have, but I can’t without violating state law. I’ve asked the legislature to do its part to ensure a fair and safe election.” Legislative Republican leaders give no indication they will meet to change the date. Nor should they.
Abe Lincoln held an election in the middle of America’s Civil War, getting ballots to the front lines.No election is perfect. Never mind the presidential primary. That election could be delayed. But county elective terms expire in all 72 counties, as do local school boards. (In Madison, be strong for Wayne Strong.) There’s a major state supreme court race. (Vote Dan Kelly.)
If not April 7, when?
Reduced turnout? Hardly!
The Wisconsin Elections Commission says 1,053,556 requests for absentee ballots had been received in Wisconsin as of Wednesday (04-01-2020); 387,833 have already been returned. Wisconsin has more than 3,300,000 active, registered voters. In the average Spring primary election year, only 14% of eligible voters (roughly 462,000) actually bother to vote.
Even if not all the million requested absentee ballots are not returned, it would be the largest turnout for a state primary in Wisconsin history.
Among the unsung heroes are our poll workers. Mayor Satya Conway Rhodes reports that the city expected to issue 6,000 to 8,000 absentee ballots but as of Wednesday had mailed 70,000. Poll workers, she says,”struggled to find enough ballot envelopes and enough mailing labels, and they’ve worked 90-110 hour work weeks to manage the volume of requests, losing sleep and straining their own immune systems in the process.”
Plenty of precautions
A normal City of Madison spring election puts 1,500 poll workers on the job. Two-thirds of those have called in self-quarantined. The number of polling places is down to 66 from an original 92. Check this interactive map of all polling place. (Sun Prairie has reduced to one.)
Madison’s most-excellent city clerk, Maribeth Witzel-Behl, told poll workers, “We well aware that this election is being conducted in difficult, frightening, and uncertain times.”
Public Health professionals are developing the means to reduce risk at the polls.
The City has obtained 500 plastic face shields for use on Election Day. Hand sanitizer will be available for voters. Instead of a set greeter station and registration table, two people at every polling place will be assigned to the “curbside team.” The curbside team will have access to plastic face shields. Prevent too many voters from entering the polling place at one time.
There will be only one poll book table at each polling place, regardless of how many wards are there. It will be equipped with a protective plexiglas shield. There will be one ballot table, with two workers at each location. It will also have a protective plexiglas shield.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Got to think voting — even in person — will be safer than grocery shopping.