The perfect time to start covering an election is less than a month out – right?!
Okay, maybe that’s actually a little stressful, but that was exactly our challenge when we were hired at Wisconsin Watch through Votebeat, a nonprofit newsroom focusing on election integrity and voting access. We hit the ground running in October to understand — and share with readers — everything we could about how this most unique election would be administered.
From examining the life cycle of an absentee ballot to diving into how electors are chosen and if a Legislature can go against the popular vote, we’ve been unpacking the machinery of Wisconsin’s elections. And even though Wisconsin’s 10 electors formally voted this week, our in-depth coverage of this election is far from over.
As I, Nora, reported on Nov. 3, I saw election workers staying late into the night at Milwaukee’s Central Count facility to process the city’s more than 169,000 absentee ballots. It got me wondering: Why is Wisconsin one of half a dozen states that still forbid workers from processing absentee ballots until Election Day? After digging through public hearings, I found that several proposed changes to Wisconsin lawhave languished in the Legislature for years. Many election officials and lawmakers hope in the next election cycle, it’ll be different.
For me, Anya, in the days immediately following the election, much was made of the role that Black voters played in cities like Milwaukee. But the numbers didn’t tell the whole story, as I learned through my reporting across the city, especially watching the work of Black-led grassroots groups unfold in real time. My story detailed the hurdles, ranging from a pandemic that disproportionately affects communities of color to outright voter suppression tactics, that Black voters leapt in order to cast their ballots.
Working alongside the dedicated editors and reporters at Wisconsin Watch has been a privilege. Although our time with them has been short, working around people so focused on producing thoughtful, fair and accurate coverage has elevated our own work. It will be an experience we’ll carry with us throughout our careers.
We all can do our part to ensure fact-checked, in-depth reporting continues into 2021 and beyond. Will you join us in supporting Wisconsin Watch by giving a one-time gift of $60, $120, $240 or whatever you’re able to give?
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Thank you for your commitment to strengthening democracy by supporting investigative journalism.
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.