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US News Masked, at a distance, the voters of Wisconsin vote in the middle of a pandemic

22:30  07 april  2020
22:30  07 april  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Masqués, à distance, les électeurs du Wisconsin votent en pleine pandémie © Supplied by Le Point

The National Guard deployed in the polling stations, where the voters wear masks: the inhabitants of Wisconsin vote on Tuesday, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic , for local elections and the Democratic primary between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who denounced a "scandalous" decision likely to turn out to be "fatal".

After an intense showdown between Democrats and Republicans, polling stations finally opened Tuesday in this American Midwestern state, hit, like all the United States, by Covid-19.

For the past two weeks, its nearly six million inhabitants have been called to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus, which has already killed more than 11,000 people in the United States, including 77 in Wisconsin, which numbers more than 2,400 case.

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Voters were waiting, spaced apart, in long queues in the big city of Milwaukee, where only five polling stations could be opened for nearly 600,000 inhabitants.

In Kenosha, further south on the shores of Lake Michigan, voters and polling station workers were separated by plexiglass walls, and about 90% wore masks. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard regularly disinfected the tables and voting machine. Some 2,500 have been deployed across the state.

Due to the lack of election workers, some being sick and others fearing contagion, more than a hundred municipalities were unable to open a polling station.

At stake: the Democratic primary but also local elections crucial for the balance of power in the state, which explains the fierce political battle around the ballot.

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Trump: "Vote today"

After days of fruitless negotiations with the Republicans, the majority in the Assembly and in the Senate of Wisconsin, Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed a decree Monday to postpone the poll to June 9.

But the Republicans immediately seized the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, which ordered a vote a few hours later on Tuesday.

Supported by Donald Trump, a conservative judge of the Supreme Court is rightly playing for his re-election. The American president therefore repeatedly encouraged voters to re-elect him. "Vote today," he notably tweeted.

Candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge him during the presidential election of November, Bernie Sanders judged him "scandalous" that the republicans push to vote Tuesday "for their political benefit". This decision is "dangerous" and "may well prove to be fatal".

Former vice-president Joe Biden, 77 years old and ultra-favorite of the Democratic primary, is given the winner in this state by polls, but great uncertainty hangs over this election.

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Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no other Democratic primary has been organized since March 17. Already 15 states and the territory of Puerto Rico have announced the postponement of their elections. And the vote will be done only by correspondence for the other polls planned for April (Alaska on the 10th, Wyoming on the 17th).

This virtual suspension of the campaign increases the pressure on Bernie Sanders, 78, to throw in the towel.

His delay on the former right-hand man of Barack Obama in the race for the democratic nomination is very difficult to catch up with.

The Wisconsin election saga has raised doubts about the crucial presidential, legislative and local elections on November 3 if the pandemic were to last.

In a rare commentary on policy, Michelle Obama advised voters to take care of themselves "and others", and recalled that ballots sent by mail must be mailed Tuesday.

To curb the risk of contagion, a Wisconsin judge had postponed last week's deadline for voting by mail until April 13. But Republicans have also appealed this decision and the United States Supreme Court has ruled, reducing the deadline to Tuesday.

The bulletins may be received by the 13th and the results may therefore not be known before this date.

In an editorial, local newspaper Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claimed that if Wisconsin's Republican parliamentarians "say they are defending democracy, Tuesday's election will be (in fact) the most anti-democratic in state history" .

04/04/2020 18:30:14 - Milwaukee (United States) (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

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