State Watch

Poll worker fired for not wearing a mask sues Wisconsin governor

A Wisconsin man is suing a La Crosse city clerk and Gov. Tony Evers (D) after he was dismissed from a paid poll worker position for refusing to wear a mask at a voting precinct, citing a medical condition.

The La Crosse Tribune reported Tuesday that Nicholas Newman is suing Clerk Teri Lehrke as well as Evers over his Aug. 11 dismissal, which his lawyers wrote in court documents came as a result of Lehrke enforcing the statewide mask mandate his lawyers argue is unconstitutional.

“The American system of government contains three branches, not one. For those who might say the governor must do ‘something,’ the founders divided power for a reason: They had left behind a king’s rule. Power is divided on purpose so that it cannot be exercised so easily,” Newman’s lawyer told the Tribune in a statement regarding the lawsuit.

Conservatives in many states have fought back against mask mandates, arguing that governors do not have the authority to issue such orders.

Their legal efforts have largely been unsuccessful. In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court sided in favor of the governor on the issue and ruled that the legislature could not unilaterally end a statewide emergency declaration after voting to give the governor the power to declare such an emergency situation.

Evers’s office told the Tribune in a statement that the governor would continue to promote the use of masks to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“We know that masks can save lives, and Gov. Evers continues to ask everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, staying safer at home, and limiting their social circles as much as possible,” the governor’s office said.

Evers announced an extension of his statewide mask order on Tuesday, though the state’s Supreme Court previously sided with Republicans to end his stay-at-home mandate.

Tags Coronavirus Mask mask mandate Tony Evers Wisconsin
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