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Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

Milwaukee faces poll worker shortage for April 7 election amid pandemic complications

Nearly 60 percent of Wisconsin municipalities are reporting a shortage of poll workers ahead of Wisconsin’s April 7 election as volunteers continue to bow out of their duties amid the continued spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said on March 31. A shortage of available workers due to concerns about coronavirus has caused the Milwaukee Election Commission to reduce the number of Election Day polling stations from the normal 180 to 10 to 12, said Executive Director Neil Albrecht. With an expected 90,000 or more absentee ballots, the election results would not be finalized for...

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A Political Plan B: DNC organizers prepare contingency options for Milwaukee’s July Convention

With the Democratic National Convention less than four months away, committee officials say they are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and exploring a range of contingency options. Joe Solmonese heads the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee in Milwaukee where the event is expected to be hosted July 13 through 16. Solmonese said the committee will follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health officials in the days and weeks ahead. On March 23, Governor Tony Evers announced he would issue a “stay-at-home” order in an effort to slow the spread of...

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Health Official condemns Senator Ron Johnson’s false equivalency between traffic accidents and COVID-19

One of the nation’s top public health officials leading the fight against the new coronavirus said on March 20 that recent comments from Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson were “way out.” Johnson said in a March 17 interview that the public needed to keep the COVID-19 disease in perspective, saying that “we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways.” Johnson also said that “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.” At the White...

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Milwaukee election officials promote alternatives to in-person voting as April Primary nears

There are no plans, at this time, to postpone the April 7 primary election in Wisconsin despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, with more than half of the poll workers 60 years old and one-third over age 70, Milwaukee city officials made a plea on March 15 for younger volunteers. People who are over the age of 60 are considered at higher risk if exposed to the new coronavirus. City officials said they need about 1,800 poll workers to help from 6:00 a.m. until the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on April 7. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett suggested students who...

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Wisconsin mandates closing all K-12 Schools until early April to prevent spreading of COVID-19

Governor Tony Evers announced on March 13 that he was directing the state Department of Health Services to issue an order mandating statewide closure of all public and private schools because of the spreading COVID-19. The closure of all K-12 schools will begin 5:00 p.m. on March 18. The order seeks to give schools time to draw up plans for families, teachers and staff. Other schools that had already announced plans to close earlier may continue to do so. “Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our...

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Milwaukee Convention Center’s expansion takes step forward with release of design renderings

For years, Milwaukee officials have discussed renovating and expanding its downtown convention center but numerous studies and setbacks have delayed the process. On March 6, the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) released renderings of what the proposed expansion project would look like. The expansion will double the square footage of the convention center and generate $12.6 billion in spending over a 30-year period. A state budget provision providing the financial backing is needed to pay for the likely $300 million project. The exposition hall square footage will increase by 112,000 sq. ft., totaling 300,000 contiguous sq. ft., plus integrate six...

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