Madison mayor says voter turnout seems low, calls election a 'travesty'

Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 9:59 PM CDT
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Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says her office is hearing reports that voter turnout "seems low," after mass confusion played out during Wisconsin's Spring Election Tuesday.

The mayor's statement comes after thousands of Wisconsin voters waited for hours at polling stations, and thousands more stayed home, afraid of contracting the virus at polling stations.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to postpone in-person election, but the GOP-led Senate and Assembly ignored it, instead pushing ahead for in-person voting on Tuesday, April 7.

In a scathing statement Tuesday evening, Mayor Rhodes-Conway said that "the results of this action – in both voter disenfranchisement and public health – will become more apparent in the coming days, but this much is clear right now: holding this election today was a travesty."

Wisconsin is the only state in the United States to hold Spring Elections at this stage in the coronavirus pandemic.

In her statement, Mayor Rhodes-Conway listed several Republican-led states that decided not to hold in-person elections, including Indiana, Ohio and Georgia.

"Everyone should pay attention to what has happened in Wisconsin and make sure that this outrageous abuse does not become standard practice come November," according to the mayor.

The mayor said that while her office has yet to receive final polling numbers, they've heard reports that "voter turnout seems low." The mayor adds that as of Tuesday morning, around 22,000 absentee ballots had not been returned.

"This isn’t surprising given that news articles from mid-day yesterday said that elections were postponed today. And while absentee ballots may make up for low in-person turnout, it remains to be seen how many will be postmarked under the new deadline given by the U.S. Supreme Court less than 24 hours ago," the mayor said in the statement.

The final count for Wisconsin's spring primary will be released on April 13.