Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has voted along party lines in a 4-2 vote to block Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order to delay the state’s primary election until June 9 over fears of spreading coronavirus while poll workers and voters crowd in public polling stations.
What We Know:
- Concurrently, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin’s spring primary by six days to April 13. The extension was meant to allow voters more time to mail-in ballots amid stay-at-home orders meant to slow the virus’ spread.
- The state’s Republican-led legislature refused to postpone the election even though hundreds of polling places have shuttered statewide and thousands of poll workers have decided not to help for fear of contracting the virus, writes Mark Joseph Stern at Slate. The denial of an extension for absentee ballots means that tens of thousands of people won’t get to vote at all since many absentee ballots haven’t even been mailed by the state yet due to epidemic related delays.
- “We are proud that Wisconsinites have come together to meet the challenges that this pandemic has created. The safety and health of our citizens have always been our highest concern, that’s why we advocated for everyone to vote absentee. Wisconsin has responded in droves. Over a million ballots have been requested for tomorrow’s election. We continue to believe that citizens should be able to exercise their right to vote at the polls on Election Day, should they choose to do so.”
- President Donald Trump reacted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision by tweeting, “The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that tomorrow’s election will proceed as scheduled. VOTE for Justice Daniel Kelly tomorrow, and be safe!”
- Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “No one should have to make a choice between exercising their right to vote and staying safe during a public health crisis.”
No one should have to make a choice between exercising their right to vote and staying safe during a public health crisis. https://t.co/uP9t6Xrg0E
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 6, 2020
Evers’ executive order also sought to extend the term of local and state officials serving in offices that were due to be elected on Tuesday. Hundreds of local elections were scheduled for Tuesday, along with a contested state Supreme Court seat.