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Author: Wisconsin Watch

New study confirms that Black voters were heavily disenfranchised in April 7 election over COVID-19 fears

Significant numbers of Milwaukee voters were dissuaded from voting on April 7 by the sharp reduction in polling places and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic — with the biggest effects seen among Black voters, according to a new study. Researchers from the Brennan Center for Justice say their study is the first to measure the impact of the pandemic on voting behavior. The study found that Milwaukee’s decision to close all but five of its 182 polling places reduced voting among non-Black voters in Milwaukee by 8.5 percentage points, and that COVID-19 may have further reduced turnout by...

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The Invisible Enemy: Inmates fear the COVID-19 pandemic in overcrowded Wisconsin prisons

Mia White was stepping off the walking track at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in 2018 when the ground crumbled beneath her feet and her back popped. Her spine, fractured and bulging, deteriorated for months while she begged medical staff to order imaging of her back. White says her spine became arthritic, and she developed blood clots that burned in the back of her leg. Sometimes she woke in the middle of the night, gasping for air, the result of an enlarged heart. Now housed at the minimum security Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center, White struggles throughout the day to breathe...

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Disabled Wisconsin residents see their lives upended by a coronavirus-driven shortage of caregivers

Wisconsin already faced a shortage of caregivers who offer crucial services and independence to people with disabilities. Then the pandemic struck. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Stacy Ellingen of Oshkosh lost two of the three caregivers she depends on to dress, shower, eat and use the bathroom. The helpers — all University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh students — returned to their parents’ homes when the university canceled in-person classes. Ellingen, 34, had little choice but to do the same — moving back to her parents’ home in Fond du Lac. Matt Ford, 55, already lived with his 76-year-old father, his primary...

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Municipal clerks scramble to ensure public safety as Wisconsin prepares for next election during pandemic

Many states have postponed elections or moved to all-mail in voting. Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipal clerks must figure out how to hold safe in-person balloting. Tamia Fowlkes of Milwaukee was among thousands of voters in Wisconsin who reluctantly went to the polls on April 7. Fowlkes had voted absentee — like more than a million other voters in the state — but then helped her grandfather cast his ballot in person after the state Supreme Court ruled that Governor Tony Evers lacked the authority to delay the election because of the pandemic. “We were the only state in the entire...

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Clues to Wisconsin’s coronavirus future can be found by revisiting a past pandemic

During the 1918 flu epidemic, Wisconsin limited deaths with statewide stay-at-home measures. Some cities reopened early, however, with deadly results. Time will tell if history repeats with COVID-19. Roy Cummings, a movie house owner in Oshkosh, knew he would lose big bucks — some $400 to $500 a week — if the northeast Wisconsin city shut down his business and other public gathering places. But he believed it was a wise call. C.G. Baumann, another Oshkosh movie house owner, appeared less eager to shutter his business, “but stated he would be glad to do so if it was the...

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Help Thy Neighbor: How Wisconsinites can ensure their community gets through the pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through Wisconsin, closing schools and businesses and testing the state’s health care workforce, many people wonder how they can help — beyond staying at home to help “flatten the curve” of new infections. What can those who are financially able to do help other people or organizations who are severely impacted by this virus? Is there anything that a regular person can do to help health care workers? How else can we help the folks at the front lines of the pandemic? Here are some ideas for doing good. Feed the hungry The Food...

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