Evers expresses concern over safety, but praises voters, election day workers

As voters across Wisconsin head out to vote in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cases and deaths continue to rise.

According to the state Department of Health Services, 2,578 people have now tested positive, 745, or 28 percent, have been hospitalized and 92 people have died due to complications from contracting the virus. Roughly 28,500 have tested negative. 

As the number of cases now is spreading to the central and northern portions of the state, the largest clusters of positive cases continue to be in Milwaukee and Dane counties, with 1,323 and 289 cases, respectively. 

Gov. Tony Evers made several last-minute efforts to suspend the election over health concerns due to the growing number of cases and the number of polling sites that lacked workers and had to close.

Those efforts gained no traction with the GOP-controlled Legislature and two court decisions announced Monday required in-person voting would happen Tuesday and absentee ballots would need to be postmarked by Tuesday as well. 

The results of Tuesday’s election will not be announced until Monday, due to the extended time given to count what is expected to be a record number of absentee ballots.

“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,” Evers said in a statement. “Thank you for giving our state something to be proud of today. Please stay as safe as possible, Wisconsin.”