Wisconsin Weekly: Why more than 23,000 Wisconsin absentee ballots did not count in April

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Rejected ballots; expired unemployment aid; pandemic-era mourning; COVID-19 testing scrutiny; eviction wave


Of note: This week we highlight our latest stories — all in collaboration with news partners. 

APM Reports journalists Tom Scheck and Geoff Hing joined Wisconsin Watch Managing Editor Dee J. Hall in examining why more than 23,000 Wisconsin absentee ballots did not count in the April election — and what that signals to Americans preparing to vote in November. And in our Outbreak Wisconsin collaboration with WPR, Amy Moreland shares her anxiety about losing extra federal unemployment aid, while Mariah Clark reflects on mourning and rights of passage during the pandemic. Bram Sable Smith, a WPR reporter based in Wisconsin Watch’s newsroom, separately examined Wisconsin’s capacity for COVID-19 testing as the pandemic continues. 

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Will Cioci / Wisconsin Watch

Rykki Casey is seen in front of her home in Cedarburg, Wis., on July 20, 2020. Casey, a health care worker and mother of four, had her absentee ballot rejected in Wisconsin’s April presidential primary election. She says she is disappointed that her ballot, which was missing a witness address, did not count.

How Wisconsin’s 23,000 rejected absentee ballots could spell trouble for the November election

Wisconsin Watch/APM Reports — July 23, 2020

As states move toward mail-in voting during the pandemic, many voters are unfamiliar with how to successfully cast an absentee ballot.

Will Cioci / Wisconsin Watch

Amy Moreland is seen on her morning walk near her home on the East side of Madison, Wis., on June 14, 2020. Moreland said that the walks help to get her out of bed and keep up a routine, as she is out of work and living along during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘It doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight to this’: Pandemic drags on as $600 unemployment lifeline nears expiration

Wisconsin Watch/WPR — July 22, 2020

Madison bartender Amy Moreland has been out of work since mid-March. She immediately applied for state unemployment insurance and eventually started receiving an extra $600 per week from the federal government — atop her $114 per week in state aid. The federal benefit is set to expire at the end of this month, leaving Moreland and other jobless Wisconsinites unsure about what’s next.

Will Cioci / Wisconsin Watch

Mariah Clark, left, and her partner Tom Kastle are seen outside their Madison, Wis., home on July 17, 2020.

‘Conflict of emotions’: ER nurse reflects on death, mourning and rites of passage in the COVID era

Wisconsin Watch/WPR— July 21, 2020

Mariah Clark is no stranger to dealing with COVID-19 in her work as an emergency department nurse at UW Health in Madison. But the virus unexpectedly touched Clark’s personal life in late June.

Father, Soldier, Son

New York Times — July 17, 2020

Isaac and Joey Eisch would not remember a time when the United States was not at war. When their father, Brian Eisch, left for Afghanistan in 2010 as a sergeant first class in the Army, he became one of the more than 775,000 American troops who have served in the longest war in U.S. history. Isaac and Joey became two of the countless children waiting anxiously at home.

Next pandemic threat to economy: A wave of evictions

The Christian Science Monitor — July 22, 2020

Government aid for individuals during the pandemic was speedy but also limited in its duration. The expiration of eviction bans is a test of whether the U.S. will let a health crisis also become a housing crisis.

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