Russian court backs move to let Putin stay
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It’s an Election Day, which often means your Tuesday evening edition of the On Politics newsletter focuses on what to watch for in the day’s primaries.
But in Wisconsin — the first state to hold in-person voting while its residents are under a “safer at home” order — there will be no results reported until April 13, thanks to a messy back-and-forth of court decisions that mired the elections in chaos and confusion.2020 ElectionFollow our live coverage of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary.
So we don’t have much to watch for tonight, because we won’t know any results.
What we do know is that in Milwaukee, the biggest city in the state and the base of Democratic voters in Wisconsin, voting has been a public health and civic catastrophe.
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At each of the city’s five polling sites (in a normal year, there are 180 locations), voters waited more than two hours to cast their ballot, as lines of hundreds of people stretched for blocks. Many wore masks and kept six feet of distance in line, but not all.
The scene was markedly different outside Wisconsin’s main urban areas. Officials in rural counties — especially Republican officials — reported few problems at the polls. In Sheboygan County, about an hour north of Milwaukee up the Lake Michigan shore, the local Republican chairman, Dennis Gasper, said he drove around to polling places this morning and found no issues.
A lot of voters did not want to go to the polls: Nearly 1.3 million absentee ballots were requested through Monday, though only about 860,000 had been returned. And stories poured in today of voters unable to cast their ballots.
- Hannah Gleeson, 34, is a health care worker who lives in Milwaukee, is 17 weeks pregnant and recently tested positive for the coronavirus. She requested a ballot more than a week ago, but it never arrived in the mail, and she cannot vote in person or she would be putting hundreds at risk.
- Marcelia Nicholson is a supervisor and vice chair for Milwaukee County and is up for re-election today. But she was recently exposed to the virus and her absentee ballot was delayed in arriving, so she may not get to vote for herself.
- Jill Swenson, 61, a literary agent, is self-quarantining in her Appleton home. A widow, she lives alone, has a chronic lung disease and fears contracting the coronavirus. She requested an absentee ballot, but is unable to find a witness to sign her ballot. “I don’t know anyone who has been self-isolating who could be a witness for me,” she said.
- Laura Arvold’s rural Oneida County home has been a refuge for an immunocompromised relative who moved temporarily from Milwaukee. Amid the pandemic and the governor’s “safe at home” order, and lawsuits from liberal-leaning groups, she and her husband thought the election would be postponed, and didn’t request a ballot in time.
So, amid this confusion, one of the most pivotal swing states in the country held its spring elections today, with a closely watched State Supreme Court race hanging in the balance. Though the polls close at 8 p.m. Central time, it’s likely that the weeks that follow will be filled with even more legal challenges.
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