State Watch

Wisconsin experiences long lines at limited voting locations amid pandemic

Long voting lines are being reported in Wisconsin a day after the state Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers (D) from canceling in-person voting for the state’s primary Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Every state or territory that was scheduled to hold a primary in April has either moved completely to by-mail ballots or postponed until a later date, except for Wisconsin.

Polls are open but are operating at an extremely reduced capacity. In Milwaukee, the state’s largest metropolitan area, only five polling places are open; the city usually has 180. 

The state has so few poll workers that it mobilized 300 National Guard members to work the polls, CNN reported.

On Tuesday morning, Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes called the primary a “shit show” in a tweet, putting the blame on the state’s Assembly Speaker and Senate majority leader, both Republicans.

Later Monday night, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the state could not count any mail-in ballot that was postmarked after its primary election date, April 7.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturned a lower state court’s decision to allow in-mail ballots to be accepted until April 13, a week from Tuesday.

This caused Tuesday’s election in the Badger State to return largely to the status quo, despite the fact that the state has reported 2,440 confirmed cases of the virus and 83 related deaths, according to The New York Times

But election results won’t be available until April 13, the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced on Tuesday.

Evers had initially said that he didn’t have the power as governor to unilaterally cancel the election, but on Monday changed course and issued an executive order canceling in-person voting. GOP lawmakers in the state quickly called on the state Supreme Court — where Republicans have the majority — to block Evers’s order. The state Supreme Court promptly did so, halting the order in a 4-2 vote along party lines.

Tags 2020 Wisconsin primaries Coronavirus Milwaukee state Supreme Court Supreme Court Tony Evers Wisconsin

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