Wisconsin Republicans blow off demands to delay coronavirus-tainted election
Members of COVID — Citizens Outraged Voters in Danger — wear masks as they protest Saturday outside the state capitol in Madison, Wis.(Amber Arnold/AP Photo)
Wisconsin Republican lawmakers Saturday blew off the governor’s calls to delay a controversial election — leaving the state hurtling toward an in-person vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus crisis.
GOP legislators boycotted the special session called by Gov. Tony Evers to put off the election till May and switch to an all vote-by-mail format to keep voters safe from the pandemic.
Clerks gaveled the rare weekend session then immediately adjourned as not even a single Republican turned up in the chamber.
The state GOP, which holds near total power in the legislature, also filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to block a lower court’s order extending a deadline for returning absentee ballots by a week.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will likely rule on Monday whether to grant a stay of the district court’s order.
Republicans say they fear the absentee voting extension could encourage voter fraud. In a statement Saturday, they said in-person voting was no more dangerous than “getting take-out food.”
Democrats claim they want as many people as possible to be able to participate in the election.
The vote features a Democratic presidential primary pitting Joe Biden against Bernie Sanders, as well as local races and a crucial state Supreme Court election.
Evers inexplicably waited until almost the last minute to push to scrap the in-person election on Tuesday.
Chaos is now looming with election workers are balking at manning polls across the state, where 51 people have died and there are 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Evers, a Democrat, may now be forced to take measure similar to that of Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who effectively scrapped last month’s election by ordering polling places shut due to a health emergency.
“We will continue to find ways to make sure Wisconsinites are safe, and that’s the bottom line," Evers said.