Democrats ask Supreme Court not to block extended absentee voting in Wisconsin

Democrats ask Supreme Court not to block extended absentee voting in Wisconsin

Democrats are asking the Supreme Court to deny a request from Republicans to block extended absentee voting in Wisconsin ahead of the state's Tuesday primary. 

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic National Committee on Sunday formally submitted a request calling on the nation's highest court to reject the GOP's appeal, which was filed on Saturday in response to a lower court's ruling to extend absentee voting in the state to April 13.

Democrats in their filing Sunday argued in part that a stay on the lower court's decision could "exacerbate the unfolding COVID-19 public health disaster."

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"Thousands will be disenfranchised" should the state not go through with collection of absentee ballots after the deadline, Democrats added in their court filing.

The request to the Supreme Court comes as state Republicans have accused Democrats of causing "chaos" in the state's primary elections by making repeated requests to change the rules due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“During the past couple of weeks, Democrats have repeatedly asked courts to change our election laws and created chaos in our democratic process. While the courts have repeatedly rejected nearly all of their demands, the district court in Wisconsin has allowed absentee ballots to be collected even past the April 7th election, which is a relief that the plaintiffs never even requested," GOP state chairman Andrew Hitt said in a statement on Saturday.

"We have asked the United States Supreme Court to grant an emergency stay to prevent voting after election day, which dramatically changes our election laws on the eve of an election," he continued.

Democrats argue that the changes are necessary to prevent thousands of state residents from being disenfranchised during the election due to the state's inability to staff many polling locations and concerns about public gatherings amid the virus's spread.

The state's governor, Tony Evers (D), called this week on the state legislature to pass a bill allowing all ballots to be submitted by mail and to extend the deadline for ballot collection to late May. On Friday, he signed an executive order summoning lawmakers back to the capitol for a special session.

"Folks, I can't move this election or change the rules on my own. My hands are tied," Evers said Friday. "And that's why I spoke to legislative leaders about this weeks ago. I even publicly called upon them to act. They have made it clear they are unwilling to make changes."