Mayors representing Milwaukee, Madison and other cities in Wisconsin are demanding that state health officials prevent people from voting in polling stations and instead hold a mail-in-only election for Tuesday’s primary due to the coronavirus crisis, Politico reported on Sunday.
The mayors wrote in a letter to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm that “we need you to step up and stop the State of Wisconsin from putting hundreds of thousands of citizens at risk by requiring them to vote at the polls while this ugly pandemic spreads.”
The letter, which was signed by 10 mayors in the state, recognized that the health department does not have the authority over how the election is held and thus urged “the Legislature to heed Governor [Tony] Evers’ request for a special session. Meet tomorrow before April 7, and work with him to craft a procedure that protects public health and protects the right to vote.”
The plea from the mayors comes as the dispute over absentee voting in the state goes to the Supreme Court.
Evers, a Democrat, ordered the state legislature on Friday to return to the capitol for a special session and urged it to pass a bill permitting all ballots to be sent by mail and to extend the deadline to late May due to the pandemic.
But the Republican Party filed an appeal on Saturday after a lower court’s ruling extended absentee voting in the state to April 13.
The Democratic Party, in turn, on Sunday formally asked the Supreme Court to reject the GOP’s appeal, arguing that thousands of voters will be disenfranchised if absentee ballots are not permitted after the original deadline.
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