Citing virus, Wisconsin governor orders delay of Tuesday's vote

07 Avril, 2020, 00:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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A key race on the ballot is for a seat on the bitterly partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court, where conservatives holding a 5-2 advantage.

In a statement on Monday, Evers announced that he made a decision to delay voting, "Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow's election".

Thousands of poll workers had said they wouldn't work, leading Milwaukee to reduce its planned number of polling sites from 180 to just five. "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. But the tumult in one of the most critical general election battlegrounds underscored the challenge of voting during a pandemic when public health officials are discouraging groups from gathering for virtually any reason to prevent the spread of the virus.

The order (pdf) postpones the date of in-person voting in the election to June 9.

An unprecedented 1.2 million Wisconsin voters had also requested absentee ballots and Evers' executive order will allow them to continue to request ballots until the date of the new election.

The governor and Republican lawmakers have agreed until last week to keep the election in place to ensure local government offices with terms expiring in April are filled.

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GOP leaders said they would challenge Evers' action in the state Supreme Court, calling it "unconstitutional overreach". They have a better shot in federal court than state court because U.S. District Judge William Conley has already said he believes it is a awful idea to send people to the polls on Tuesday.

Conley's ruling could create a situation where clerks are reporting partial results after polls close Tuesday but absentee voting is continuing for almost a week.

On Sunday, two Democratic appointees on the Wisconsin Elections Commission denounced the legislature for moving forward with in-person voting, warning that the move would put the lives of Wisconsin voters at risk.

The Evers order came as a separate legal fight was pending before the US Supreme Court. A federal judge last week ordered the state to extend its deadline for accepting absentee ballots from election night until 13 April.

82 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (state and Milwaukee County reports) - 45 of those deaths were in Milwaukee County. This comes after Evers maintained he was powerless to stop the election without legislative action.

Wisconsin has at least 2,440 confirmed cases.

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