The risk can’t be eliminated, Morales-Doyle said, though elections officials implementing robust protection measures helps. But they must also figure out ways to reduce the amount of people that can crowd a polling place and hurt social distancing efforts, he said, including by expanding early voting, having polling places that allow for social distancing and encouraging vote by mail.
“We think if elections officials do all of those things that there is a way for in person voting to happen with a reduced risk,” he said.
A roundup of studies by Wisconsin Public Radio in May showed there were different findings about the public health impact of the Wisconsin primary, though a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focusing on Milwaukee had a more favorable view.
“No clear increase in cases, hospitalizations, or deaths was observed after the election, suggesting possible benefit of the mitigation strategies, which limited in-person voting and aimed to ensure safety of the polling sites open on election day,” the report said. “Epidemiologic trends were likely also influenced by a relatively lower turnout of voters overall compared to spring 2016.”