Gov. Evers' statement on April 7 election

Nellie Chapman
April 3, 2020

U.S. District Judge William Conley on Thursday declined to postpone Wisconsin's election, but he ordered that people be given an extra six days beyond Election Day for absentee voting. It's great news that Wisconsinites will have more time to request and submit a ballot and that clerks will have more time to count ballots.

In addition, the judge ordered that municipal clerks can accept absentee ballots until 4pm on Monday, April 13, almost a full week after Election Day.

While he wouldn't postpone the election itself - although he chastised state elected leaders' failure to do so - a federal judge ruled Thursday to extend the absentee voting period.

Residents who want to skip the line on Election Day and vote early in-person can visit City Hall Friday, April 3 from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. or Saturday, April 4, from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m.

Gov. Tony Evers and others have encouraged people to vote absentee, and more than 1 million people have requested ballots, breaking all previous records. He also removed a requirement for absentee voters to have their ballot signed by a witness.

Election 2020
Lisette Venegas votes at the Su Nueva Lavanderia polling place in Chicago Illinois

Voting rights activists and local election administrators in Wisconsin painted a dire portrait of the risk of infection to poll workers and voters, saying how hard it would be to administer elections under those circumstances.

The ruling came on three lawsuits filed by Democrats and voting rights groups asking Wisconsin to postpone the primary or expand absentee voting during the coronavirus outbreak, which has created worries about health risks and led to a shortage of poll workers for Tuesday. But Evers and Republican leaders have been committed to Wisconsin's date.

"If I could have changed the election on my own I would have but I can't without violating state law", the governor said in a statement Wednesday night. National Republicans are helping defend the decision to go forward with voting next week. The state has called in National Guard troops to staff polling sites, as thousands of workers are expected to not show up because of coronavirus fears. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "more than 100 communities [are] saying they will have no poll workers at all".

The race that will be most watched by the rest of the nation in Wisconsin is the state's Democratic presidential primary between remaining contenders Sen.

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