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Tuesday’s turnout good, despite virus

Tuesday’s turnout good, despite virus Tuesday’s turnout good, despite virus

Wisconsin National Guard pitches in where needed

A larger than expected number of voters turned out for Tuesday’s election despite worries over infection from the coronavirus, according to County Clerk Kim Trueblood. The clerk said voting in county municipalities went smoothly following a raucus political fight where the Wisconsin Supreme Court slapped down 5-2 Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order to delay voting to June 9 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote overruled federal judge William Conley’s order to extend absentee voting for six days.

Trueblood said 35 Wisconsin National Guard men and women filled in for poll workers who stepped aside from staffing the election during the COVID-19 outbreak. Of this number, she said, 24 of the military personnel helped out with elections in Wausau.

The clerk said she visited polling places to see how the election was going. She reported that people observed social distancing and some wore masks, but, overall, things were orderly and without issues.

“People were in good spirits and the poll workers were doing their jobs very well,” she said.

Tuesday’s election will decide a presidential primary contest, a state referendum and county board, school board and municipal elections.

Trueblood said that no votes in the election will be counted by judge’s order until after 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13.

On April 6, Gov. Evers, after failing twice to have the state legislature postpone the election in special sessions, ordered the election delayed citing a state law giving the governor power to do what is “necessary for the security of persons and property.” The governor, who earlier admitted he lacked the power to reschedule the election, unsuccessfully pushed to send paper ballots to all registered voters in a mass absentee voting scheme. Attorneys for statehouse Republicans argued the governor’s order was unconstitutional because it robbed the state senate and assembly of their legislative powers.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Brent Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, said Conley’s order to extend absentee voting for six days would “fundamentally alter the nature of the election” and could “gravely affect the integrity of the election process” should any partial results be leaked during the extension.

“Although I remain deeply concerned about the public health implications of voting in-person today, I am overwhelmed by the bravery, resilience, and heroism of those who are defending our democracy by showing up to vote, working the polls, and reporting on this election,” said Gov. Evers on Tuesday.

“The prudent action of the U.S, Supreme Court addresses our concerns over ballot security in [Tuesday’s] election,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Voss (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). “We look forward to the voting being secure—and look forward to seeing the results come in with the rest of Wisconsin.”