Wisconsin governor suspends in-person voting; Republicans challenge order

Yolanda Curtis
April 6, 2020

"At the end of the day, this is about the people of Wisconsin", Evers said in an interview Monday. On Monday morning, lawmakers gaveled into session and ended it nearly immediately afterwards without plans to meet again until Wednesday.

At least 15 other states have postponed presidential primaries and scores of lower-level elections have also been put off in the face of the virus, which struck the USA during the heart of presidential primary season. Republicans maintain that Tuesday's in-person voting should go on as planned.

Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler was among those on social media who warned that the state Republicans' maneuver over the weekend is likely a preview of the GOP's tactics on a national scale during this year's general election.

The big picture: Wisconsin's Republican-controlled legislature rejected Evers' call to delay the primary during a special session on Saturday, arguing that such a late postponement would cause confusion and leave open municipal positions that will be vacated this month. "The governor himself has repeatedly acknowledged he can't move the election", they said in the statement. "We have seen growth in the number of deaths across the state. I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part-just as the rest of us are-to help keep people healthy and safe", said Evers in a statement Monday. "It makes me cry thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow".

Despite warnings from public health experts and legal challenges by voting rights groups, the Wisconsin Democratic primary and state and local elections are set to go forward on Tuesday after Republican state legislators refused to take up a proposal to cancel most in-person voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Washington Post reported that Ann S. Jacobs and Mark L. Thomsen-two commissioners-wrote a letter to Robin Vos, the Republican state House speaker.

In addition, the mayors of 11 Wisconsin cities - including Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay - urged state Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm in a letter to use her emergency powers to postpone voting on Tuesday.

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