Connect with the author
Originally published as "Wisconsin is Scheduled to Vote Today. How will the Pandemic Affect Turnout?", The Washington Post, April 7, 2020.
On Tuesday, April 7, Wisconsin is scheduled to vote. With the coronavirus still raging, state lawmakers of both parties have for weeks been urging voters to cast ballots early or absentee to help contain the pandemic.
Some leaders are trying to make those options easier. For instance, the capital city of Madison offered curbside early voting through Saturday.
On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers (D) postponed the election until June via an executive order, but an appeal from Republican lawmakers to the Wisconsin Supreme Court resulted in the court striking down Evers’s order. The election will go on as scheduled.
Would any of these efforts change who ends up casting ballots?
The coronavirus pandemic is an extraordinary public health crisis, and we can’t know how it will affect voting. But our team’s research on the 2018 midterm elections suggests that the groups that usually face more barriers to voting — in particular, poor people and racial and ethnic minorities — do not tend to benefit from early and absentee voting.