Wisconsin health officials investigating whether GOP-mandated election caused COVID-19 outbreak: report
Photo of a long line to vote in Wisconsin by SEIU

On Friday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is now monitoring the public to determine whether the in-person voting on Tuesday triggered an outbreak of COVID-19.


"We will continue this important work to ensure that every case is followed up on, contacted, and anyone who may have been exposed notified," said DHS Secretary Andrea Palm. "We hope the extraordinary efforts taken by local clerks, public health, voters, and poll workers helped minimize any transmission but we stand prepared to respond if that isn’t the case."

This week, Wisconsin saw the culmination of a partisan battle how to conduct its elections, fueled by a high-stakes state Supreme Court election challenging Dan Kelly, a right-wing, anti-voting-rights justice appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker. After weeks of efforts to compel the GOP legislature to expand mail-in voting options, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order delaying the primary to June.

The state Supreme Court, which is controlled by pro-Republican jurists, blocked the order. Hours later, the U.S. Supreme Court also overturned directives from lower courts extending the absentee voting period — forcing thousands of Wisconsin voters who hadn't yet received their requested absentee ballot to risk their health and stand in public voting lines.

President Donald Trump has praised the federal and state court actions, attacking mail-in voting as "corrupt" and baselessly insinuating that Democrats only wanted to expand voting options because he had endorsed Kelly.

Election results for Wisconsin's primary, Supreme Court race, and down-ballot elections will not be reported until Monday.