The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the state's presidential primaries and local elections scheduled for Tuesday must take place.
Hours earlier, Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order delaying in-person voting until June 9. He said the elections must be postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, arguing that in-person voting during the pandemic compromised the safety of voters and poll workers. "I cannot in good conscience allow any types of gathering that would further the spread of this disease and to put more lives at risk," he said.
The court ruled 4-2 that Evers lacked the authority to unilaterally move the election. Originally, Evers had agreed with Republicans, saying the elections had to take place because local offices on the ballot have terms that start in two weeks. On Monday, as volunteers said they wouldn't show up to the polls and more critics jumped on him for not stopping the election during the pandemic, Evers changed course.
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Wisconsin state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) told The Associated Press Democrats have high voter turnout on the day of elections, and this was another way for Republicans to suppress the vote. "Your choice is to go and vote in person and take a chance on contracting COVID-19 or stay home," Erpenbach said. "What do you think people are going to do?"
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