Assessments produced by the Office of the Governor of Wisconsin in response to American Oversight’s request for documents indicating the effects of in-person voting for the April 7, 2020, elections on public health or voter turnout.
Records released in response to American Oversight’s request regarding the effects on public health or voter turnout of in-person voting at Wisconsin’s April 7 elections. The records include plans of action as well as multiple letters from public health officials urging Wisconsin government officials to delay the election.
April 3, 2020: The city of Milwaukee circulated an operation plan for its polling places that indicated the city had fewer than 300 confirmed election workers instead of its typical 1,400. The end of the plan stressed the importance of hiring a sufficient number of workers: “National experiences should inform the State of Wisconsin that polling places that are overwhelmed and insufficiently staffed severely compromise the integrity of the election and lead to costly recounts, legal disputes and an erosion of public confidence.”
April 4, 2020: In a memo addressed to Wisconsin state legislators, a number of local public health officials recommended that the April 7 election be postponed. That same day, Wisconsin legislators rejected Gov. Tony Evers’ attempt to cancel in-person voting and insisted that the election go ahead as scheduled.
April 5, 2020: Two members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission wrote a letter to the state’s legislative leadership, reiterating a letter they had sent on March 19 saying, “[i]f the April 7 election is held as scheduled, Wisconsin cannot guarantee the safety of our voters, clerks, or election workers.”
April 6, 2020: The Wisconsin Public Health Association sent a letter urging the governor and legislature to delay the April 7 election. Ultimately, the election went ahead as scheduled — and later that month, public reporting indicated that more than 50 people who voted or worked at the election had tested positive for Covid-19.
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