Wisconsin aims to improve mail-in voting during pandemic. Here’s what to know. — 9/2/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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As Wisconsin braces for a record-breaking flood of mail-in ballots in November — the next round of pandemic-era voting — elections officials are trying to avoid a repeat of the problems seen in April when absentee ballots were lost in transit or never sent, and 23,000 ballots were rejected because of voter errors or late arrival, Max Witynski reports for Wisconsin Watch.

This time around, bar codes will allow many voters to track their absentee ballots. Some clerks will install drop boxes to ensure ballots arrive in time for counting. Most significantly, about 2.6 million registered voters will receive applications for absentee ballots in the coming weeks as officials urge people to vote early and to avoid errors.

Witynski also offers an easy-to-digest list of what voters should know about mail-in balloting.

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

St. Eugene School first graders Kateri Gries, left, and Rhys Evans wait in line to go outside for recess. The K-8 school is having in-person attendance five days a week.

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Wisconsin tells voters to request ballots now in push to improve mail-in votingWisconsin Watch

What you need to know now about mail-in voting in WisconsinWisconsin Watch

Wisconsin GOP rep supports mail-in voting, despite Trump’s fraud claimsWisconsin Watch

Milwaukee’s health commissioner resigns for new job during coronavirus pandemicMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Back on campus, COVID-19 challenges students’ mental healthCap Times 

Brown County taxpayers foot the bill as jail holds more prison inmates than normalFOX 11 

Homes wanted for quarantining homeless during COVID-19 to be demolished, called ‘uninhabitable’La Crosse Tribune 

The Wauwatosa School District estimates it will spend $4 million to $5 million on coronavirus-related expenses Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

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.

What to know: CDC’s new eviction moratorium

The U.S. Centers for Disease control late Tuesday issued a nationwide order temporarily banning most evictions for renters who have suffered financially due to the pandemic. 

The order lasts through Dec. 31, and it will kick in once published in the Federal Register, expected Friday. It comes about three months after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers lifted a state moratorium and as the financial devastation of the pandemic worsened chronic housing problems in the state, particularly in Black-majority neighborhoods of Milwaukee. 

The order does not absolve renters of their bills, nor does it offer federal aid to cover rent. And questions loom about whether landlords will seek to block the order through legal challenges. 

Ron Lieber of The New York Times breaks down what else renters should know about the order.

Quotable

“But while an eviction moratorium is an essential step, it is a half-measure that extends a financial cliff for renters to fall off of when the moratorium expires and back rent is owed. This action delays but does not prevent evictions. Congress and the White House must get back to work on negotiations to enact a COVID-19 relief bill with at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.”

— Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the based National Low Income Housing Coalition, in a statement

Data to note

Here are the latest visualizations of COVID-19 cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext.

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.

The International Monetary Fund’s Finance & Development magazine features Lupe Salmeron, a Madison resident and recent Edgewood College graduate, in a project called “Portraits of Resilience.”

“When both her congressman’s office and the restaurant where she worked part time were shuttered in March, Lupe, an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States at age six, returned to Madison,” the magazine reports. “For a time, she worked as a credit union teller to help defray the steep tuition that noncitizens like her must pay. And then she contracted COVID-19 herself. After isolating with mild symptoms, she returned to her job before joining the staff of a local nonprofit that helps Latinx youth prepare for college.”

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