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By WCCO-TV Reporter David Schuman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite a pandemic, Wisconsin’s primary election went on Tuesday as scheduled — but it was anything but usual.
Some residents waited an hour to cast their ballot for the presidential primary, a state supreme court seat and other local races.
Safety precautions were taken to protect voters from COVID-19. In Hudson, poll workers and Wisconsin National Guard members wearing gloves and masks enforced six feet of social distancing between voters.
Each voter washed their hands before casting a ballot and were given a new pen to use. Hudson resident Gary Borglund said he didn’t feel in danger at his polling station.
“We felt very comfortable,” Borglund said.
Zachary Koop doesn’t agree with holding an election when COVID-19 could be anywhere.
“It’s turning out to be much more difficult than usual to vote today,” Koop said. “It’s a really scary thing getting out here and being exposed to the virus. I might get sick. And you know, for me, I guess that’s worth it, but no one should have to go through that.”
In spite of the risks, Hudson City Clerk Becky Eggen says people adjusted to the changes and the wait times.
“There’s more out than I was thinking would be out today, so I’m shocked at how it’s actually turned out over here at the fire hall,” Eggen said.
New Richmond handled its crowds with a drive-up voting option. In Milwaukee, there were only five polling locations open in the whole city. Lines of voters wrapped around the block waiting their turn.
The Wisconsin Election Commission said wait times were between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Hudson resident Lynn Wakefield says the outbreak couldn’t keep her from performing her civic duty.
“It’s a privilege and a, you know, responsibility to get out there and vote,” Wakefield said.
Polls in Wisconsin close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. This isn’t an election where we’re going to see results Tuesday night because of the absentee ballots. Those must be received by next Monday at 4 p.m. to be counted. Until then, no results can be certified.