coronavirus and elections
April 24, 2020

Mass coronavirus casualties could cost President Trump victories in battleground states in the fall election, potentially shifting electoral votes to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to an analysis published by academic researchers in the journal Administrative Theory & Praxis. "The pandemic is going to take a greater toll on the conservative electorate leading into this election — and that's simply just a calculation of age," said Andrew Johnson, the lead author and a professor of management at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "The virus is killing more older voters, and in many states that's the key to a GOP victory." For example, about 11,000 more Republicans than Democrats 65 or older could die in both Michigan and North Carolina, which could swing tight races, Politico explains. Harold Maass

April 7, 2020

Despite a lack of polling stations, long lines, and the looming presence of the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin voters begrudgingly set out for the polls Tuesday after the state decided to go through with its presidential primary and other local elections.

Despite their health and safety concerns, some voters felt it was necessary to go out precisely because Wisconsin was bucking the trend of delaying primaries, which has led to debates about voter suppression. "It feels bad to have to choose between your personal safety and your right to vote," Dan Bullock, a 40-year-old health care worker who voted Tuesday, told the The New York Times. "But you have to be heard, especially if there's people who are trying to minimize you."

Other voters called the decision "irresponsible," "crazy," and "difficult to watch," while some told the Times about people they knew who stayed home because of fears for their own health or because they had to look after younger children who they didn't want to bring to the stations.

Anecdotal evidence so far seems to indicate the coronavirus will have a large effect on voting in more urban areas. Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city, cut more than 170 polling stations, leaving only five in play, while drive-through voting appeared to aid turn out in rural parts of the state. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

April 6, 2020

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), after much delay, wound up issuing an executive order Monday to delay in-person voting for two months for the state's presidential primaries and other local elections scheduled for Tuesday. But the decision doesn't really bring much clarity to the situation.

Evers had held off on delaying the primaries and elections, even as other states postponed their own during the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, because he agreed with Republicans that elections for local offices with terms set to begin soon needed to proceed. He changed his mind because of health safety concerns, but the new problem is that he doesn't actually have unchecked authority to issue such an order.

Per The Associated Press, the decision to delay the primaries is expected to face an immediate challenge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Conservative justices hold a 5-2 edge. One of them is on the election ballot and is not participating in related decisions, so that's narrowed to 4-2 in this case. But if the court does block the order, it could put the elections in jeopardy and prevent a large amount of people from voting. Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach said Republicans are hoping to suppress voter turnout, especially in Milwaukee, because they want to make sure the conservative justice up for re-election, Dan Kelly, secures a second 10-year term. Read more at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

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