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Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that governor cannot postpone Tuesday’s presidential primary, despite virus outbreak fears

MADISON, WI -- Wisconsin's presidential primary election will proceed Tuesday under an order from the state Supreme Court that came just hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to postpone voting as part of a last-ditch effort amid growing fears over the coronavirus.

The state court ruled 4-2 on Monday that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on his own.

Later Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin's spring primary by six days because of the coronavirus.

The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access.


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has issued an executive order to delay the state's scheduled Tuesday presidential primary election for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move on Monday injects more chaos and last-minute uncertainty amid growing criticism about the state's harried efforts to allow for in-person voting.

Evers' order calls for the election to be held June 9.

It also askss the state Legislature to meet in special session on Tuesday to address the election date.

According to Evers' office, if lawmakers don't approve legislation to change the new election date, in-person voting will occur on June 9.

All ballots already cast in the 2020 Spring election will remain valid and will be tallied in conjunction with the new in-person voting date, according to Evers' office.

"Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy," Evers said. "I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part—just as the rest of us are—to help keep people healthy and safe,” said Gov. Evers. “But as municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today.”

The Democratic Evers had previously opposed moving the election. But he acted as poll sites closed because nervous volunteers were unwilling to staff them and as criticism about holding the election grew.

The order was expected to be immediately challenged in the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Click here to read Evers' entire order.

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Associated Press

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