Republican in mask, gloves and gown ridiculed for urging Wisconsin voters to risk coronavirus at polling stations

'You are incredibly safe to go out'

Justin Vallejo
New York
Wednesday 08 April 2020 03:13 BST
Long lines form outside Wisconsin polls despite coronavirus warnings

The Republican speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Robin Vos, has been criticised for telling voters the Wisconsin primary was incredibly safe – while wearing full personal protective equipment.

Mr Vos was a driving force behind the in-person primary election going ahead after he and fellow Republicans stopped Democrat attempts to delay the election or provide voters with mail-in options.

Wearing a mask, gloves and full-length protective gown, Mr Vos told voters in a video published on Tuesday that he was volunteering with his wife during the primary.

"They gave us the PPE, it is mandatory for us to wear. So we are hear today making sure that we do everything safely," he said.

"Everybody here is safe. They have very minimal exposure. Actually there's less exposure here than you would get if you went to the grocery store. If you went to Walmart or if you did any of the many things that we have to do to live in the state of Wisconsin.

"You are incredibly safe to go out. So I think that's why people have to use their own best judgement. They have to make sure that if they're compromised in any way or worried about the safety of their family that they do it really smartly."

The video of Mr Vos went viral on Twitter, with users like writer @ParkerMolloy joking that PPE is the kind of thing she always wears when it's incredibly safe to go out.

"Also, come on, man, if you need to be dressed like you're heading in to perform heart surgery in order to hang out at a polling place, you should have postponed the election," he wrote.

The Wisconsin primary went ahead after the state's conservative-dominated supreme court voted along party lines to overturn the Democratic governor's bid to delay it amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier on Monday, governor Tony Evers had said he was planning to postpone the primary until 9 June to protect voters from the risk of spreading Covid-19, overriding the objections of Republican politicians in the state. He had previously opposed moving the primary himself.

The supreme court voted 4-2 that he did not have the legal right to postpone the vote on his own authority.

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