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Long Lines, Masks And Plexiglas Barriers Greet Wisconsin Voters At Polls

A couple checks in to cast their ballots at the Kenosha Bible Church gym in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday. Voting went forward in the state, despite the ongoing pandemic.
A couple checks in to cast their ballots at the Kenosha Bible Church gym in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday. Voting went forward in the state, despite the ongoing pandemic.
Credit Kamil Kraczynski / AFP via Getty Images
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After an 11th-hour scramble, Wisconsin forged ahead with its election Tuesday, despite fears about the coronavirus outbreak and an ongoing stay-at-home order from the governor.

Though hundreds of thousands of voters cast absentee ballots ahead of time, many still turned out to vote in person Tuesday.

What they found: plenty of masks and cleaning supplies, jury-rigged Plexiglas barriers and long, socially distanced lines.

In some municipalities, longer lines were to be expected, due to a shortage of thousands of poll workers that led election officials to have to consolidate voting locations.

The city of Milwaukee, with a total population near 600,000, had just five polling places open on Tuesday, compared to about 180 during normal times. Here, from WUWM reporter Teran Powell, is a look at one location:

The controversial election comes just hours after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned an executive order issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to delay in-person voting until June 9, followed by a U.S. Supreme Court order on Monday evening to cut off an extension for absentee voting.

Republican legislative leaders had opposed Evers’ push for an election delay, calling it “unconstitutional overreach.”

Wisconsin is holding its presidential primaries Tuesday, but it’s also holding a number of state and local elections. Many of those offices have terms that begin later this month.

Voters can submit absentee ballots until 8 p.m. CT on Tuesday, the result of Monday night’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Wisconsin went forward with its election, though many other states have delayed voting in recent weeks, citing public health concerns.

“Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that has failed to step up and respond responsibly and safely to the current national health pandemic emergency,” Jay Heck, director of voting rights group Common Cause in Wisconsin, said in a statement.

For more on what Wisconsin’s primary means for the Democratic presidential primary, check out our FAQ here.

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