Kathy Zebell and Phu Ngo volunteer at the When We All Vote event outside of the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Oct. 24, 2020. Organizers offered free food and encouraged attendees to vote at a nearby early voting site. Nora Eckert / Wisconsin Watch
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues, and we always provide our news for free.

You can read all of our coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage by signing up for our Wisconsin COVID-19 Update newsletter, and please consider becoming a member to support our nonprofit journalism. 

Today we highlight our preview of Tuesday’s Election Day, which will cap a presidential campaign season transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many Wisconsinites have already cast their ballots, including those seeking to minimize their risk of exposure to the virus, Nora Eckert and Anya van Wagtendonk report. As of Monday morning, more than 91% of more than 2 million absentee ballots sent out had been returned, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Still some voters prefer to cast their ballots at polling places on Election Day, where they are encouraged but will not be required to wear masks, Eckert and van Wagtendonk report.

Additionally, “municipalities and community groups are enacting safety precautions, such as making hand sanitizer readily available at the polls,” the reporters write. 

Election Day follows a weekend in which Wisconsin surpassed another grim pandemic milestone: 2,000 deaths linked to COVID-19. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reported 78 new deaths since Friday, bringing the state’s pandemic total to 2,050.

Editor’s note: We will not produce a COVID-19 Update newsletter on Nov. 3, while we cover the election. Please visit wisconsinwatch.org to follow our live coverage, which will focus on election management and voting access.

Top Stories

Kathy Zebell and Phu Ngo volunteer at the When We All Vote event outside of the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Oct. 24, 2020. Organizers offered free food and encouraged attendees to vote at a nearby early voting site. Nora Eckert / Wisconsin Watch

Masks, poll watchers, pandemic: Wisconsin prepares for Election Day Wisconsin Watch 

Divided government worked in Maryland; in Wisconsin it let COVID-19 rage Cap Times 

What went wrong at Wisconsin: Daily COVID-19 testing was supposed to protect Big Ten football from outbreaks Wisconsin State Journal 

Madison health director endures during COVID-19, despite ‘no off-switch’ Wisconsin State Journal 

Treatments for COVID-19 still largely unproven as Wisconsin cases climb WPR 

Hospitalized or quarantined voters still have options to cast ballots WPR 

October was Wisconsin’s worst month for COVID-19 yet — and its surge is one of the biggest ever in the U.S. USA Today Network-Wisconsin 

State veterans homes avoided COVID for months, but now the second surge of infections is hitting veterans Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Decisions on in-person or online school in two neighboring Wisconsin school districts mirror national debate Green Bay Press-Gazette 

Masks work. Really. We’ll show you how. The New York Times 

‘Wear a freaking mask’: Racine’s biggest hospital fears it is near flood stage because of COVID patient influx Journal Times

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatch.org.


“We are all sick and tired of COVID-19, but right now Wisconsin, we need you to step up. As scary as it can be, and as difficult and challenging as our days are, we just need everyone else to gather in and help us.”

— Katie, a registered nurse at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, appearing in a “Stop the COVID Spread” campaign ad sponsored by health care and business advocacy groups

“The American dream died for me when I realized just how many of my fellow Americans valued selfishness over community, power over justice, prejudice over fairness, greed over generosity, demagogy over science. For me, the 2020 pandemic is very real, but also a metaphor. How sick our national soul is! The old dream should pass away. Isn’t it time for us to dream new dreams, better dreams, that include us all?”

— Marsha McDonald of Milwaukee, as quoted by The New York Times’ Sunday Review

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s startling trends in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

!function(e,i,n,s){var t=”InfogramEmbeds”,d=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement(“script”);o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src=”https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”,d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”);
!function(e,i,n,s){var t=”InfogramEmbeds”,d=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement(“script”);o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src=”https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”,d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”);

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org

Here’s one last chance to pitch in on our campaign to alleviate hunger across Wisconsin Appleton Post-Crescent

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Watch editorial and business staff.