Wisconsin mayors beg for limits on in-person voting days before primary.

  • Post Author
    by News director
  • Post Date
    Mon Apr 06 2020
With statewide polling worker shortages, the Wisconsin National Guard will assist in staffing polling places in Tuesday's election, which is still on. Photo: Wisconsin National Guard, public domain.

Author: Sam Buisman

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway joined nine other Wisconsin mayors calling for alternatives to in-person voting in Tuesday's state primary over COVID-19.

The ten mayors, who altogether represent more than 1.3 million Wisconsinites, signed a letter asking Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to take emergency measures to limit in-person voting as much as possible to protect voters from the coronavirus.

“We believe it would be irresponsible and contrary to public health to conduct in-person voting throughout the state at the very time this disease is spreading rapidly,” the mayors write in the letter.

The mayors argue that such emergency action by the Department of Health Services is necessary amidst legislative inaction on this issue. According to Politico, Republican state legislatures declined to take up a bill after Governor Tony Evers called them into special session on Saturday that would have enacted an all-mail election with extended absentee-voting deadlines.

Under Wisconsin law, the Department of Health Services has the authority to forbid public gatherings to control outbreaks and the authority to “implement all emergency measures necessary to control communicable diseases.”

According to Reuters, more than twelve other states with April 7 primaries have postponed their elections over coronavirus fears. At press time, the April 7 state primary is scheduled to proceed with in-person voting and absentee-ballot deadlines as normal.