World

US elections: Wisconsin Governor asks judge to mandate mail-in voting

Bloomberg April 2 | Updated on April 02, 2020 Published on April 02, 2020

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers asked a federal judge on Wednesday to direct the State to hold its primary through mail-in voting, but did not ask for the April 7 vote to be postponed, as many States have done.

On Monday, the states Republican-controlled legislature rejected a proposal from Evers, a Democrat, to ensure that Wisconsin’s 3.3 million registered voters receive absentee ballots and to delay the absentee ballot deadline, which is currently April 2.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party, along with nearly a dozen other Democratic advocacy groups, have filed lawsuits calling for a primarily mail-in voting election.

But on Twitter on Wednesday night, Ben Wikler, the party chairman, said that his organisation endorses the call by civil rights groups & mayors across Wisconsin to postpone our April 7 election & remove barriers to safe voting by mail.

Nobody should have to choose between their health and their vote, he said in a statement. “We look forward to the courts ruling, and we urge Republicans in the state legislature to take immediate action to protect the public health and voting rights of Wisconsinites.”

Drop boxes

In a brief to the court, the Governor asked the judge to extend the deadline for obtaining an absentee ballot and to make it easier to vote by mail by easing a state law that requires another US citizen to sign the absentee ballot as a witness and to mandate drop boxes for mail-in ballots.

Such an approach will promote stability and avoid the uncertainty inherent in extending the election date into the future, given that Wisconsin’s exposure to COVID-19 continues to expand, and it remains unclear when the situation will improve, Assistant Attorney General Hannah Jurss wrote on Everss’behalf.

Evers declared a state of emergency in the state on March 12, but both he and Republican leaders in the legislature opposed any move to delay Tuesday’s primary. Several states have postponed primaries amid the coronavirus pandemic, including Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio and Connecticut.

More than 1,300 cases

Wisconsin has more than 1,300 cases of coronavirus, with 130 cases added since Monday. The governor argued that social distancing guidelines could prevent voters from finding witnesses. Some physical polling locations would still be open, though 111 jurisdictions reported not being able to find enough polling staffers amid the pandemic.

Bernie Sanders issued a statement on Wednesday calling on the State to delay the primary and issue absentee ballots.

People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote, which is why 15 states are now following the advice of public health experts and delaying their elections, Sanders said. We urge Wisconsin to join them.

As of Tuesday, 972,232 voters have requested absentee ballots though only 942,350 have been sent.

Published on April 02, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.