Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission unanimously approved a proposal that would ease the process of voting by mail rather than having to vote in person amid the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday night.
The panel, which consists of three Democrats and three Republicans, voted to send applications to all of Wisconsin’s approximately 2.7 million registered voters to receive mail-in ballots.
“People like easy ways to do things,” Democratic Commissioner Mark Thomsen said, according to WPR. “And voting without waiting in line has become, in many ways, the norm.”
The measure would help lower the risk of Wisconsin voters becoming infected with COVID-19 on Election Day and avoid the dangerous situation of the state’s previous Election Day on April 7, which saw astonishingly long lines formed at the crowded polling sites.
Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Human Services reported in early May that at least 67 of the state’s voters and poll workers who were at the voting sites on April 7 came down with COVID-19. However, state health officials cautioned that those patients could have been exposed to the virus in other ways.
Efforts to enact vote-by-mail systems or at least avoid voting in person amid the pandemic have often been opposed by the GOP: Wisconsites were forced to vote in person in April after Republicans fought Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) executive order to delay in-person voting, which was subsequently struck down by the state’s majority-conservative Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump has also assailed mail-in voting because it “doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”