Wisconsin is holding a primary on Tuesday after the state Supreme Court rejected Gov. Tony Evers’ order postponing the election until June.
As other states that were scheduled to vote in April moved their primaries, Wisconsin held firm. Evers did not ask for any changes until Friday when he called for a special legislative session. The Republican-led legislature refused to take up his call for an all-mail election and to extend deadlines and lift photo ID requirements and adjourned the session within seconds.
"I understand things are getting much different out there, and there are obviously a lot of concerns about what an election would look like on April 7 with the amount of poll workers and volunteers that we're going to need," state Senate leader Scott Fitzerald said at a news conference last week. "We're monitoring it very closely, but at this point, I don't see a change really to the April 7 date."
But Evers on Monday issued a last-minute executive order postponing the election until June 9.
“As municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing,” he said. “The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that's why I signed this executive order today."
Court rejects order:
The state Supreme Court blocked the move, ruling that only the state legislature has the power to move the election under the state’s constitution.
"This is it. There is not a plan B. There is not a plan C," Evers said.
"The state's highest court has spoken: The governor can't unilaterally move the date of the election," Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a joint statement.
The election will go on as planned despite a shortage of about 7,000 poll workers. Some locations did not have enough staff to open a single location while Milwaukee was forced to cut the number of polling places from 180 to just five.
Local leaders condemn decision:
"Unbelievable. Wisconsin's hyper-partisan Supreme Court is barreling ahead with a reckless election that is certain to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters," said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.
"Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong with this election — not because of the pandemic but because of cruel choices made by Republican politicians and their pet judges," she told CNN.
"My fear is that our election in Wisconsin might be the largest public event in the country in April," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "This fantasy that somehow, well, it's an election and people aren't going to get sick. I think it's so irresponsible, so irresponsible for us to go down this path."