Thursday, August 13, 2020

In Wisconsin, the primary of “chaos”

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Despite the containment that has been decreed, the Midwestern state announced that it would hold elections with the National Guard on Tuesday, April 7. The Democratic Governor preferred to systematize postal voting, but the Republicans, who control the Senate and the State Assembly, opposed it.

[Actualisation à 21h46 : le gouverneur du Wisconsin a pris un décret lundi 6 avril reportant au 9 juin les élections prévues le 7 avril. Il a expliqué avoir pris cette décision “pour préserver la santé publique”.]

In the midst of a pandemic, some 15 American states have made the wise decision to postpone the primaries scheduled for March or April. But Wisconsin sees it differently. Even as residents must respect the confinement imposed by the state of the Midwest, elections will indeed take place this Tuesday, April 7, under conditions “Unusual” according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Democrats, including Governor Tony Evers, would prefer to organize the election by mail, “So that voters in Wisconsin do not have to risk their health to go to the polls”, reports The Atlantic. But Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate and the State Assembly, “Reject this idea”.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has identified a “Myriad of attempts to change Tuesday’s election in one form or another” and reports that the most recent occurred on Sunday April 5: “Ten mayors of Wisconsin, including the mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett”, asked state health officials “To ban physical voting on Tuesday.”

All of this creates “An unprecedented situation in Wisconsin, arguably the most important state” 2020 elections, observe NBC News.

In Milwaukee, 5 out of 180 open polling stations

Many assessors having given up participating in the organization of the poll, “Some 111 constituencies do not have enough staff to open even one polling station”, indicates the Guardian. The governor called on the Wisconsin National Guard to help manage them, and the courts authorized postal voting until April 13. The results should not be known before this date.

In Milwaukee, a city with approximately 300,000 registered voters, only 5 polling stations will be open on polling day, “Instead of the usual 180”. “We are swimming in chaos right now”, told the British daily Neil Albrecht, executive director of the city’s electoral commission, who fears that access to the vote will be “Very limited”.

If Wisconsin decided to hold the election on Tuesday, April 7, it’s after The Atlantic because the Democratic primary is not the only election proposed to the voters of the state: they will have to “Choose a new judge for the Wisconsin Supreme Court” and “Thousands of local mandates are also to be filled”.

The magazine sees in the controversy between Democrats and Republicans a disagreement on “The fundamental objective” postal voting: allow as many voters as possible “To exercise their right to vote”.

For NBC News, what’s going on in Wisconsin “May well be a harbinger of what could happen” during the presidential election in November.

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