TODAY’S COVID-19 CASES, AS REPORTED BY THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES ON APRIL 6, 2020. THESE NUMBERS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
This report has been updatedy
Democratic Governor Tony Evers on Monday moved to halt Wisconsin’s spring election scheduled for Tuesday, amid public health concerns from the coronavirus pandemic.
Evers said he’s taking a stand for the people of the state. “They’re sitting there saying ‘I’m scared, I’m scared of going to the polls. I’m afraid for my future.’ At the end of the day, somebody’s got to stand up for those folks.”
Evers issued an executive order pushing the election to June 9th. Republican legislative leaders said they’d appeal to the state Supreme Court.
“This is it. There’s not a plan B, there’s not a plan C. We’re moving ahead with this. We believe the Supreme Court will support us in this.”
His order also calls lawmakers back into session this week to decide whether the election should be held at a different date.
In the absence of legislative action, today I signed Executive order #74 suspending in-person voting for the April 7 spring election until June 9, 2020.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 6, 2020
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Evers said voters “don’t care about the fighting between Democrats and Republicans – they’re scared. I’m standing up for those people who are afraid and that’s why I’m doing this.”
Republican legislative leaders who want to keep polls open adjourned both chambers on Monday without acting on a special session to delay the election as called by Evers on Friday.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) released the following statement.
— Speaker Robin Vos (@SpeakerVos) April 6, 2020
“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.”
No action was taken on Saturday, in a special session of the Wisconsin legislature called by Governor Tony Evers. The Democratic governor on Friday asked lawmakers to convene in Madison for the purpose of delaying the spring election scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.
With just a handful of members present in either chamber, the Senate and Assembly both gaveled-in and gaveled-out. Republican leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said in a joint statement issued on Friday that in-person balloting should proceed as scheduled on Tuesday.
— Speaker Robin Vos (@SpeakerVos) April 3, 2020
Evers, who said he may consider other means to delay the election, through a court order or additional executive action, issued a statement on Saturday, “Republicans in the Legislature are playing politics with public safety and ignoring the urgency of this public health crisis. It’s wrong.”
Republicans in the Legislature are playing politics with public safety and ignoring the urgency of this public health crisis. It’s wrong. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 4, 2020
Evers had cited concerns about spreading COVID-19 during in-person voting, and a critical shortage of poll workers, in seeking to postpone the election until May 19 and requiring that voting be by mail-in ballots only.
The state of Wisconsin has been granted a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government.
The disaster declaration, announced Saturday by Governor Tony Evers, allows lets all 72 counties and 11 federally recognized tribes access to Public Assistance programs from the federal government. The declaration comes from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who will reimburse the state for emergency protective measures.
It also authorizes direct Federal Assistance, so when the State and local governments cannot perform or to contract for eligible emergency work, the State may request that the work be accomplished by a federal agency.
The major disaster declaration covers assistance to public entities and will cover eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships, tribes, and certain private, not-for-profit organizations. Local governments in the declared counties are now eligible for federal assistance and should contact county emergency management directors for further information.
Under the program, FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs, while the remaining 25 percent is the responsibility of state and local agencies.
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.
A federal judge has ordered that Wisconsin voters be given an extra six days beyond Tuesday’s election, to submit absentee ballots.
U.S. District Judge William Conley said earlier this week he would not postpone the election despite his misgivings about public health from COVID-19 concerns.
The deadline for voters to get absentee ballots to clerks had been 8 p.m. on Election Day. Conley’s order issued Thursday extends that to 4 p.m. the following Monday, April 13, and lifts the witness signature requirement for absentee ballots. He said voters may state in writing that they could not safely get that due to coronavirus fears.
Conley’s order also extends the deadline to request absentee ballots to 5 p.m. today, Friday April 3.
A lawyer for the Republican National Committee and the Wisconsin Republican Party, Patrick Strawbridge, filed a notice of appeal soon after Conley issued his opinion. The Republican legislature filed an appeal Thursday, too.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House COVID-19 task force, is the latest public figure to be honored with a bobblehead by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci has become America’s voice of reason as one of the lead members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.”
Phil Skar from the Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum said five dollars from the $25 purchase price will go towards the American Hospital Association to support the 100 Million Masks Challenge.
The bobble is expected to be released in July of 2020, and the museum is currently taking pre-orders through their website.
TODAY’S COVID-19 CASES, AS REPORTED BY THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES ON APRIL 2, 2020. THESE NUMBERS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
Long time Democrat Senator Jennifer Shilling says she’s stepping away from the Legislature.
Shilling says that after 20 years in office, it’s time to step back from her role in the Capitol. Her two children are nearly grown, and Shilling says she’d like to spend more time with them.
Shilling was a state representative before being elected to the Senate in 2011, and then named as Senate Minority Leader in 2014.
She says she’s proud of her role in modernizing healthcare and pushing for criminal justice reforms while in the legislature.