Common Cause in Wisconsin realizes that many voters have a difficult choice to make between voting in person and protecting their health. This choice was entirely avoidable, but our legislature refused to act to protect the safety of Wisconsinites.
For voters who choose to vote in person, we encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing and to wear a mask to protect others. We also encourage voters who have an absentee ballot to mail them, ensuring they are postmarked with today’s date or deliver them to their designated polling place before 8 PM this evening. All absentee ballots must have the signature of a witness on the outside envelope in order to be counted. Voters who have questions about how to vote in today’s primaries can call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE. Media outlets are encouraged to include the nonpartisan hotline number in their stories, on social media, and on their websites as a resource for voters.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that has failed to step up and respond responsibly and safely to the current national health pandemic emergency. We have seven months until the general election and there is time to fix these issues before November to ensure we are protecting public health and the right to vote.
Wisconsin’s absentee ballot rules are no doubt disenfranchising voters. Governor Evers and the legislature must work together to resolve these issues before the November election so voters can cast their ballot in a safe, accessible, and fair way. Common Cause in Wisconsin and our allies will work with election officials to ensure we avoid this kind of chaos for November’s election.
A sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday blocked Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s executive order to postpone the April 7th Spring election until June 9, or such date that the Governor and Legislature could agree upon in a legislative special session, called for today. The vote was 4 to 2. Also yesterday, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that absentee ballots must be postmarked by today, April 7th or have been delivered to polling places before 8 PM today to be counted. This effectively disenfranchises thousands of Wisconsin voters who have not yet received their absentee ballots even though they may have applied to receive them before last Friday’s deadline to apply for such a ballot.
The effect of these two rulings is that the Wisconsin spring election will proceed today on April 7th.