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Top Wisconsin court blocks governor’s move to delay election, extend absentee voting

Associated Press and WDIO-TV
Updated: April 07, 2020 11:25 PM

Wisconsin’s conservative Supreme Court has ruled that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could not postpone the state’s presidential primary, striking down his order to move the election to June over coronavirus outbreak fears.

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The decision means the election will occur as originally scheduled on Tuesday.

The court ruled 4-2 that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on his own. Evers had called a special session for the Republican-controlled legislature to make changes to the election, but leaders gaveled the session open and closed without considering any bills.

Later Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court also blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin’s spring primary by six days because of the coronavirus.  

The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access.

Evers said there is "extreme risk to the public" by holding in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"People have bled, fought, and died for the right to vote in this country," Evers said in a statement Monday evening. "But tomorrow in Wisconsin, thousands will wake up and have to choose between exercising their right to vote and staying healthy and safe." 

The governor called it "a shame" that the legislative and judicial branches "chose to pass the buck."

He said during a news conference earlier Monday that he tried for weeks to find common ground with Republicans but said they are fighting even "the most basic and common sense" solutions in court.

The Wisconsin Republican Party issued a statement about Evers' order before the court decision saying it's "tragic to see such a reckless disregard for the Constitution."

The spring election includes the presidential primary, a Supreme Court race, and numerous city, county, and school board races. Numerous other states have delayed elections over the past month.

The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access in the age of the coronavirus with major implications for the presidential primary contests ahead and, possibly, the November general election. 

Credits

Associated Press and WDIO-TV

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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