Over the weekend, Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature didn’t act on proposals from Gov. Tony Evers to make changes to the primary election. Evers wanted to prevent people from going to the polls tomorrow due to the coronavirus.
The Gov. signed an executive order Friday calling for the Legislature to convene in special session Saturday to vote to delay the election. Republican leaders signaled on Friday they wouldn’t take up Evers’ proposals and on Saturday gaveled into session without taking any votes. For weeks GOP leaders rejected any calls to postpone the election arguing democracy must go on and people should still have the right to cast a ballot.
Evers was asking lawmakers to move to an all-mail election, send absentee ballots to every registered voter and extend the deadline when those ballots could be returned until May 19th. This was the first time Evers asked to delay the election, breaking from Republicans after agreeing previously with them that the election should go on as scheduled.
More than a dozen other states have postponed their primary elections due to concerns of the safety of poll workers and the public as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Last week a federal judge ruled absentee ballots could be delivered through April 13, but Republicans appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday. They argued that the absentee extension is “a deeply consequential and disruptive change” that risks confusing voters, comes too close to the election and unfairly creates two different deadlines for voters — one for in-person voting and one for absentees.