Milwaukee voters turned out by the thousands to cast their ballots Tuesday during an extraordinary time in history. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a “Safer at Home” directive on March 12, ordering most residents to stay inside and away from each other if possible — in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Evers launched a last-minute effort to delay the election, only to see Republican lawmakers outmaneuver him in court. Health experts called in-person voting dangerous during the crisis. But the process went forward, looking nothing like a typical election. Milwaukee whittled its usual 180 polling places to five, citing a lack of poll workers willing to staff the election during the pandemic.
Risking their health, these Milwaukee residents — many clad in protective gear, showed up. They waited, sometimes for hours, to participate in democracy. These are my portraits from the pandemic election.
In addition to the photography, I recorded this first-person audio journal for the podcast “Inside Stories” about my experience covering the election during the pandemic.