Tuesday, 14 July, 2020


Election period extended, not canceled

Scott Fitzgerald Scott Fitzgerald
Bennie Garza | 03 April, 2020, 22:39

Three federal lawsuits filed asked U.S. District Judge William Conley to postpone in-person voting on Tuesday, lift requirements that absentee voters include photo ID with ballot applications and give people more time to file those ballots with local clerks.

A federal judge has refused to postpone Wisconsin's presidential primary, but has extended the absentee voting window.

Wisconsin is forging ahead with its statewide elections despite ordering residents to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tony Evers on Friday signed an executive order calling the state Legislature to meet for a special session on Saturday in a last-minute bid to delay the state's primary election. "Unfortunately, that is beyond the power of this court to control", Conley wrote in his 53-page decision. "Nor is it appropriate for a federal-district court to act as the state's chief health official by taking that step for them".

The pandemic has disrupted the Democratic race to pick a challenger for Republican President Donald Trump in the November 3 USA election, knocking front-runner Joe Biden and rival Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail and forcing more than a dozen other states to delay or adjust their primaries to limit the health risks. 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. Wisconsin voters have already requested more than 1.1 million absentee ballots which already holds the record for the most requests for absentee ballots in the state.

Wisconsin's decision to press on with their election is in contrast to how several other states have reacted to the COVID-19 epidemic as social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders have become a way of life for most Americans in recent weeks. Wisconsin is considered a battleground state crucial to November's election. "My hands are tied", Evers said in the Facebook video.

In a statement, the GOP said the judge's decision to change the date which absentee ballots can be received without any limit on the postmarked date "effectively changes the date of the election" and needs to be reviewed by the appeals court.

Evers has come under heavy fire from some of his fellow Democrats for not pushing the legislature for a postponement of the primary.

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