Wisconsin’s Senate delegation is split down party lines when it comes to confidence in this year’s election and the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As a guest on WTMJ 2021 this morning, US Senator’s Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) both said they’d hope to have the November 3rd general election sorted out by the next day, but aren’t equally confident in that happening.
Johnson telling WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi that the onus falls on local election officials, “State elected officials have to step up to the plate now, be responsible, clarify the laws, set deadlines that make sense and make sure voters in Wisconsin can abide by them. Let us not be the problem child on election night and not know what the result is.”
Johnson has also spoken in favor of letting states get an early start on counting ballots, saying it’ll help make election night more efficient.
Rarely in agreement, Baldwin and Johnson find consensus on wanting to allow county clerks to tabulate ballots ahead of November 3rd.
“If they do that, all of those (ballots) can be sent through machines on election day. There would then be just a few outstanding left to be counted after election day.”
Wisconsin democrats are pushing for absentee ballots postmarked by November 3rd, but that don’t arrive to county clerk offices until November 9th, to be counted. That request was recently denied by the 7th circuit court of appeals, but could be brought to the State Supreme Court for a final ruling.
When it comes to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one which has personally affected Senator Johnson, the two find themselves at odds.
Johnson, who tested positive for coronavirus last week, says he’s still in favor of a remediation plan taken by countries like Sweden, “Isolate the sick, protect the vulnerable, and then have the rest of us carry on with our lives as safely as possible.” Johnson says he was symptomatic despite testing positive for the virus twice.
Baldwin, going all the way back to the start of the pandemic in March, said the last seven months could have gone quite differently with stronger leadership in the White House, and stronger guidelines by the CDC.
“The Department of Labor has yet to promulgate pandemic emergency standards to share with employers, schools and other places of business how they can safely reopen,” Baldwin said. “What you have is suggestions and voluntary guidance in both the CDC and Department of Labor, which is not sufficient when people are desperate for direction. Day one that would have made a huge difference.”
Over the past month, Wisconsin’s become one of the hotspots for positive COVID-19 tests. According to the State Department of Health Services, more than 5-thousand new positive cases were discovered over the weekend and more than 150-thousand have been discovered since the pandemic began 7 months ago.
You can find our ongoing coverage of WTMJ 2021 here.