Why Wisconsin Republicans Insisted on an Election in a Pandemic

During the 2018 election, the number of votes from Waukesha County made up about 57 percent of the total number of votes from adjacent Milwaukee County. Two-thirds of Milwaukee County voters backed Mr. Evers, the Democrat, while two-thirds of Waukesha County voters picked Mr. Walker, the Republican.

Absentee ballot data from the Wisconsin Election Commission shows that, as of Tuesday morning, Waukesha County voters have returned 78 percent as many absentee ballots as have Milwaukee County voters — a drastic narrowing of the voting gap between the two counties.

The data also shows that absentee turnout is far higher in the state’s major metropolitan areas than it is in the rural counties.

Statewide, 864,750 people had returned absentee ballots by Tuesday morning, according to the elections commission. But that data shows voters in urban centers were returning ballots at a far higher clip than rural Wisconsinites.

Seven counties have returned absentee ballots that account for more than 80 percent of the total turnout from the 2019 spring election, which also featured a State Supreme Court race but no presidential primary. Five of the seven are in greater Milwaukee, and the other two include Madison and La Crosse, both college towns.

Some predominately rural counties saw comparatively few absentee ballots returned. Clark County, in the state’s north, and Menominee County, whose population is largely Native American, had an absentee ballot return rate of just 17 percent of their 2019 turnout.

Bruce Johnson, the Democratic chairman in Pepin County, along the state’s western border with Minnesota, said he pushed for absentee balloting but people were less concerned because they rarely wait in lines to vote. Pepin County’s absentee ballot return rate is just 24 percent of its 2019 turnout.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/us/politics/wisconsin-pandemic-primary-republicans.html

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