The Wisconsin primary election was generally regarded as a disaster as voters braved the coronavirus to stand in long lines for hours just to vote. While the state has seen another COVID-19 outbreak connected to the election, now it’s being discovered that thousands of ballots weren’t even counted because of “technical glitches.”
According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel nearly 2,700 ballots in Milwaukee weren’t sent and about 1,600 in the Fox Valley weren’t processed due to glitches and mail problems.
“In Milwaukee, 2,693 voters were not sent absentee ballots after technical issues marred their production on March 22 and March 23, according to a report by the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” the paper revealed.
Only about half of those people who didn’t get their ballots eventually did vote, either with a replacement absentee or at the polls.
“A separate problem emerged when about 1,600 ballots for the Appleton and Oshkosh areas were located at a mail processing center the day after the election,” said the report. “It was not clear in the report if the ballots were on their way to voters or on their way back to clerks when they were found. Either way, they were discovered too late to be counted.”
The report also acknowledged that for any official it would present “terrific challenges,” but given the concern with the virus, it made things worse.
There was also the matter of dealing with the instability of whether or not the election would take place. The governor wanted to hold the primary election until it was proven to be safer and polling places could prepare for conducting an election in the coronavirus era. The conservative Wisconsin state Supreme Court overruled him.
A new study published Monday revealed a strong correlation between the election in the state and an increase in coronavirus infections, increasing calls for a better national vote-by-mail system for November.
“When the average number of votes per voting location increases by 100 (a 0.10 unit change), the rate of positive tests in a county rises by roughly 0.034 to 0.035 (3.4 to 3.5 percentage points) two to three weeks after the election,” the researchers wrote.
The election commission is considering mailing absentee ballot request forms to all voters ahead of the election to help make it safer and less confusing for those hoping to stay safe while exercising their right to vote.