Officials: 7 Virus Cases Appear Related to In-Person Voting

April 21, 2020 Updated: April 22, 2020

MADISON, Wis.—Health officials in Wisconsin said they had identified at least seven people who appear to have contracted the CCP virus from participating in the April 7 election.

The cases involve six voters and one poll worker in Milwaukee, where difficulty finding poll workers forced the city to pare nearly 200 voting locations back to just five, and where voters—some in masks, some with no protection—waited in long lines for hours.

The condition of the seven wasn’t immediately available. City health commissioner Jeanette Kowalik told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she hopes to have more information later in the week. Kowalik’s office didn’t immediately respond to a question from The Associated Press asking how city health officials were able to trace the infections to the election.

The April 7 election, which included a presidential primary as well as a state Supreme Court race and local offices, took place after a legal struggle between Democrats and Republicans. A day before the election, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered that it be delayed and shifted to all-mail voting. His order was overturned when Republican legislative leaders won an appeal in the state’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court.

State health officials had warned of an expected increase in infections from the election. State health secretary Andrea Palm said Monday that they had not shown up, but noted that symptoms may not have surfaced yet.

Wisconsin voters
Voters wait in line to enter a polling place at Riverside University High School on April 07, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Voters waited in line about two hours at the school, one of the few polling places open in the city after most were consolidated due to a shortage of poll workers fearful of contracting COVID-19. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Health officials say symptoms of COVID-19 typically appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus, and Tuesday is the 14th day since the election. That means more voters and poll workers could come forward with infections in the coming days.

Representatives for Evers and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald—both Republicans—haven’t responded to emails seeking comment.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. To date, 242 people have died in Wisconsin, and 4,620 have tested positive.

Wisconsin’s election has been a flashpoint of contention as Democrats and Republicans grapple with how to conduct elections in the CCP virus era as the November presidential polling day approaches.

Democrats and voting rights groups have filed lawsuits to expand mail and absentee voting options and pushed for an extra $2 billion to help states adjust their election systems.

By Todd Richmond

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.