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State's plan for holding elections during a pandemic is one of best in nation

Wisconsin now has a detailed plan for holding elections during a flu pandemic.

And the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission calls it "forward thinking," and one of the best she's seen.

Gineen Beach spent the last two days in Wisconsin, where she met with state and local officials about the plan.

She asked states last week to submit emergency voting plans, and Wisconsin was the first to do so.

Beach said it was so good, she has already shared it with other states.

The plan was drafted by Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy and elections administrator Nat Robinson.

It seeks to reduce a drop in turnout by encouraging voters to get vaccinated before Election Day, vote absentee if they can, and stand no more than 3-feet from anyone if they do go to the polls.

Among other things, election workers would use alcohol wipes to clean off booths, screens, and pencils, and gloves and masks would be available but not required.

Kennedy said he and the governor are seeing whether elections can be delayed or scrapped during severe outbreaks or if they can require voting by mail in those cases.

He said the Legislature may need to approve some of the measures.

Assembly Elections Committee chairman Jeff Smith of Eau Claire says he'll introduce a bill to let communities get poll workers from anywhere in their home counties, instead of just the wards were they live.

He said it would make more poll workers available during outbreaks.