Following an order this week from a federal judge that extended the time available to turn in absentee ballots, Governor Tony Evers wants lawmakers to put some more time on the clock for Wisconsin’s spring election. Republican leaders said the election should go ahead as planned, as Evers had been calling for.
Evers on Friday called for a special session of the Wisconsin legislature on Saturday, to vote on a plan to postpone Tuesday’s election and make it mail-in balloting only, with local clerks short thousands of poll workers, and municipalities reducing the number of polling places due to coronavirus,
“And that’s exactly why I called the session for tomorrow. I believe we can get to a place that works for all of Wisconsin. But clearly if the number of polling places is down, that’s going to make it much more difficult for social distancing.”
Folks, today I’m announcing that I signed an Executive Order calling the Legislature to meet in Special Session tomorrow, Saturday, April 4th at 4:00 p.m. to take up changes to the upcoming spring election. https://t.co/8m5HpvsRDz
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 3, 2020
He’s looking for the legislature to cancel in-person voting, send everyone a ballot by May 19th, and to push the deadline to get ballots in to May 26th.
“The virus sets a timetable, not me, not Robin Vos and not Scott Fitzgerald. So the time is now. We have a plan that I believe can work, and we’re looking forward to a solution.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald responded in a joint statement: “We continue to support what Governor Evers has supported for weeks: the election should continue as planned on Tuesday.”
Evers said he’s been calling for several of these measures since last week, and had hoped the Legislature would come in and handle it without being called into a special session.
The governor’s request to the legislature came just hours after a federal judge clarified his order regarding absentee balloting for Wisconsin’s spring election.
U.S. District Judge William Conley on Friday ordered that there be no reporting by elections officials, of any results from next Tuesday’s election until extended absentee balloting is complete the following Monday, April 13.
Conley granted a request from the Wisconsin Elections Commission following his order of Thursday for extended absentee voting. More than 1 million people have requested absentee ballots.
The election ballot includes the Democratic presidential primary, a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and hundreds of local elected offices.