Election Voting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With countless primary election votings going on in multiple states during this time, it is difficult to pull off these events with COVID-19 pandemic going on. Some states, like Indiana, have chosen to push the date of the primary to a later date, but others have opted to keep theirs the same date, like how Wisconsin has. The reactions and results of Wisconsin’s primary voting have caused Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker to question what Illinois should do for the election voting in November. 

Despite the current worldwide pandemic, Wisconsin still chose to hold their primary voting on Apr. 7 due to the Supreme Court overturning Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ plea to push back the date of the primary. Nonetheless, the state did close many polling places, including Milwaukee, which only had five of their usual 180 polling sites open for their population of 600,000 people, inciting fear and hysteria to spread across the state.  

However, that did not stop about 19,000 people from voting in Milwaukee, which meant that about 3,800 people voted at each of the five locations. But, with the pandemic spreading at a steady rate. Though the citizens stood six feet apart at the voting site, they still reflect society’s stubborn unwillingness to comply with social distancing. 

“Right now we have identified six cases that were tied to in-person voting [in Milwaukee],” Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said, according to The Intercept. “And one election worker also [tested] positive [for the Coronavirus].” 

This situation in Wisconsin has urged Pritzker and other democrats to question what they should do for the upcoming election in November since Illinois doesn’t have to worry about their primary election. One solution that Pritzker has come up with is substituting personal attendance with mail-in voting for the presidential election. 

With 30,357 confirmed cases, as of Apr. 20, in Illinois, Pritzker has gotten more serious about the upcoming election in November since the first day that voters would be able to file a mail-in vote would be Sept. 24. 

“I do think that we’re going to have to look at it for the general election,” Pritzker said in his daily press conference on Mar. 30. “The idea that we may have to move to a significant amount of, or maybe even all, votes to mail-in ballots, or at least giving people the opportunity to do that.”

But, with the mail-in voting, there are worries that there will not be as many voters as an actual election would usually have. However, the country is hoping to “flatten the curve” long before all of the votings would happen, so Pritzker might not have to transition all of the votings to mail for the presidential election. But for now, all they can do is plan ahead just in case they would have to make a change.