Holding Wisconsin primary amid coronavirus outbreak ‘may prove deadly’: Bernie Sanders

The Wisconsin primary election went forward Tuesday amid the coronavirus outbreak, despite attempts to delay the election until June. The Republican-led state legislature denied moves to delay the primary, and sued to stop extended absentee ballot voting.

Ultimately, Democratic Governor Tony Evers lost in court in a decision that fell along party lines. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the governor’s decision to postpone the election for two months, while the U.S. Supreme Court decided that absentee ballot voting couldn’t be extended.

“It’s outrageous that the Republican legislative leaders and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court in Wisconsin are willing to risk the health and safety of many thousands of Wisconsin voters tomorrow for their own political gain,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders in a statement. 

“Let’s be clear: holding this election amid the coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, disregards the guidance of public health experts, and may very well prove deadly.”

Presidential candidate Joe Biden did not call on the state to delay the election; a request for comment from the Biden campaign wasn’t returned. 

Currently there are over 2,500 positive cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin, and nearly 100 deaths.

Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Despite the pandemic, many voters braved long lines in order to cast their ballots. In Milwaukee, poll workers refused to show up out of fear of getting ill. The worker shortages caused over 150 polling stations in the city to close, leaving just 5 open in the city on election day.

Many voters requested absentee ballots, but didn’t receive them in time. Any ballots cast will have to be postmarked by April 7 and received by April 13 in order to be counted. The state has decided not to release the outcome of the vote until that time. 

With no absentee ballots and extended absentee voting no longer an option, Wisconsin voters have no choice but to show up to the polls in person. Some cities have started curbside voting to minimize health risks.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez also slammed Republicans, for failing to “prioritize the health and safety of the American people,” and that their agenda is to prevent more people from voting.

“Governor Evers and Wisconsin Democrats are focused on protecting the people of their state and the integrity of our democracy,” Perez said. “Republican leaders are focused on political gain, and they will stop at nothing to get it – no matter the consequences to public health and our democracy.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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