Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF APR 13, 2020

Wisconsin primary spreads concern about coronavirus election impact around U.S.

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Summarize the topic of a virus-related article involving government at the local, state or national level.
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Wisconsin held a presidential primary last week despite an earlier stay-home order from the governor as a coronavirus precaution. Some voters mailed or dropped off absentee ballots to avoid face-to-face exposure at polling places, but many – over 1,900, according to a nonprofit group – said their requested forms hadn't arrived. Nearly 1.3 million Wisconsin voters applied for absentee ballots. The Democratic governor, Tony Evans, tried to delay voting until a safer month, but the Republican-led legislature opposed that and won a court appeal to overturn his order. Lines at polling places were long because some sites were closed as virus-fearing election workers stayed home. More than half of Wisconsin's municipalities reported shortages of poll workers, prompting the state to call up 2,400 National Guard troops to assist.

Other states had postponed spring primaries, making Wisconsin the first to hold in-person voting during the height of the lung virus pandemic. There are intensified pushes elsewhere to expand voting by mail or even to conduct mail-only elections, a convenience President Donald Trump opposes – even though he cast mail ballots in 2016 and in Florida's primary last month. "Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting," Trump tweeted a day after Wisconsin's vote. “Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn't work out well for Republicans." He and other critics fear that off-site voting invites abuse, although 35 states already let voters get absentee ballots for any reason. Those ballots accounted for nearly 1 in 4 of all votes cast in 2018.

On the other side, advocates vow legal challenges unless state legislatures expand mail voting soon. "What you saw in Wisconsin would be happening in November," says Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause, a nonpartisan watchdog group. Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist, says: "The real outstanding question is whether or not we're going to have an election system that can deliver for the voters and whether or not we're going to be able to manage everybody being able to vote in November."

Wisconsin voter says: "I just thought, 'This is too many people.' I was worried, 'What if I bring this [virus] home?'" -- Jessica Jaglowski, mother of three sons, who left crowded polling site

Democrat says: "They [Republicans] don't want to see any expanded ballot access in the emergency that could impact the election in November or set a precedent going forward. It's not just a Wisconsin thing." – State Rep. Gordon Hintz of Wisconsin

Republican says: "Democrats are attempting to use this crisis as a way to get wholesale election changes that fit their far-left agenda." – Mandi Merritt, Republican National Committee spokeswoman

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2020
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