Statewide Election Back on After Wisconsin, U.S. Supreme Courts Take Action
Amid a public health crisis, Wisconsin’s spring election will take place Tuesday after the state Supreme Court on Monday struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order postponing the election and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that voters’ absentee ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted.
The 4-2 decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court — issued hours after Evers ordered the election be put on hold until June in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — found the governor wasn’t authorized to change the date of the election on his own to stem a pandemic that has so far killed 77 people in the state.
Four of the state court’s conservative-backed justices joined together to strike down Evers’ action, and the two liberal-backed justices dissented. Conservative-backed Justice Daniel Kelly, who is on the ballot Tuesday, did not participate.
The U.S. Supreme Court order stems from three separate cases asking for various voting accommodations that were consolidated. U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled the deadline for local clerks to receive absentee ballots be extended until 4 p.m. on April 13 from the original deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day. Conley did not set a postmark requirement. GOP leaders were unsuccessful in getting a complete reversal of Conley’s order from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturns much of the lower court rulings and means voters must have their absentee ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day, submit their absentee ballot in person or vote at a polling place for their vote to count. In Madison, voters can submit witnessed absentee ballots to drop boxes located at Pinney Library, Sequoya Library or Central Library by noon Tuesday, or at polling places until 8 p.m.