In a press release this afternoon Governor Evers announced that he is suspending in-person voting on April 7 since the legislature did not act as he requested. It is likely that the Republicans in the state will attempt to put this order through the Wisconsin Supreme Court, so it is possible that this will change again later in the day. If it does go to the Supreme Court there is a small possiblity of a deadlock on the court, since Justice Dan Kelly is running for election to the court, and has recused himself from previous cases involving Wisconsin elections. 

Concerns have arisen because of the current COVID-19 crisis in the state, and particularly because many polling places have had to be closed due to the lack of poll workers. 

The order suspends in-person voting tomorrow, April 7, and sets an election date of June 9. It also allows the return of absentee ballots until five days before the election date. The date may be changed by the state legislature, and the order convenes a special session of the legislature on April 7 at 4 PM (tomorrow, the original election date). All officials in the state that were contested in the Spring 2020 election will remain in office until the new election results are known.

In an advisory to election clerks in the state, the Wisconsin Election Commission stated:

The Governor just issued an executive order delaying in-person voting for the April 7, 2020 election until June 9.   While the Governor has called for moving the election, we can be certain there will be very fast moving litigation.  The order is at the link and in the text below. 

Therefore, we must continue to making preparation in earnest for tomorrow.  If the election is moved to the 9th we will adjust accordingly, but all we can do today is prepare for tomorrow.  As additional details come to our attention, we will share them with you.  

From the legislature, Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald objected to the move by the governor

“We are immediately challenging this executive order in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. “The clerks of this state should stand ready to proceed with the election. The governor’s executive order is clearly an unconstitutional overreach. “This is another last minute flip-flop from the governor on the April 7th election. The governor himself has repeatedly acknowledged he can’t move the election. Just last week a federal judge said he did not have the power to cancel the election and Governor Evers doesn’t either. Governor Evers can’t unilaterally run the state.” roceed with the election. The governor’s executive order is clearly an unconstitutional overreach. “This is another last minute flip-flop from the governor on the April 7th election. The governor himself has repeatedly acknowledged he can’t move the election. Just last week a federal judge said he did not have the power to cancel the election and Governor Evers doesn’t either. Governor Evers can’t unilaterally run the state.” 

The state Republican Party also objected in a statement this afternoon, saying

“It is tragic to see such a reckless disregard for the Constitution from Gov. Tony Evers who just days ago admitted he did not have the power to change the election. His admission will weigh heavily on the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision, so we are left to conclude that the Governor is playing politics with something as precious as our democracy. The Republican Party will continue to fight for the rule of law.”MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers, in the absence of legislative action, today signed Executive Order #74, suspending in-person voting for the April 7 spring election, moving in-person voting to June 9, 2020. The order also directs the Legislature to meet in special session on Tues., April 7, 2020 to address the election date. If the Legislature does not enact legislation to change the new election date, in-person voting will occur on June 9, 2020.

The governor's press release this afternoon:

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow’s election. Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy. 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 Gov. Evers. “But as municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today.”


All ballots already cast in the 2020 Spring election will remain valid and will be tallied in conjunction with the new in-person voting date.

Executive Order #74 is available here.

The governor previously signed Executive Order #73 calling the Legislature to meet in a special session to send a ballot to every registered voter, allow an all-mail election, and extend the time for those ballots to be received and counted. The Legislature did not take up these changes in special session. Gov. Evers also proposed legislation that had several provisions aimed at making voting easier and more accessible during the public health emergency. A brief summary of that legislation is available here for review. Additionally, Gov. Evers called for the Legislature to act on this issue in a video, available here

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Steve Hanson
About

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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