A U.S. District Judge extended absentee voting deadlines in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge William Conley on Thursday moved the ballot request deadline to Friday, April 3 by 5:00 pm, and set the deadline for municipal clerks to receive ballots to April 13, rather than on election day, Tuesday, April 7. The order also waives a requirement to have a witness sign the ballot, if a voter cannot do so safely. Voters who submit their ballot without a witness signature must explain why they weren’t able to to safely meet the requirement.
WisPolitics.com reports that state and national Republicans had asked Conley to stay his ruling, and now are appealing his decision.
Voters have requested a record 1.1 million absentee ballots so far this year, and the state is planning on having National Guard troops help man the polls on April 7 because clerk’s offices are short of poll workers.
Update 1:30 pm Thursday, April 3:
Gov. Evers Calls for Special Session on Spring Election
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #73 calling the Legislature to meet in Special Session on Sat., April 4, 2020 at 4 p.m. to take up changes to the upcoming spring election. Gov. Evers is urging the Legislature to take up legislation allowing an all-mail election, to send a ballot to every registered voter who has not already requested one by May 19, and to extend the time for those ballots to be received to May 26. “Your efforts to maintain social distancing, the sacrifices you have made when it has come to your jobs, your schooling, and your day-to-day activities are what we need to flatten the curve to protect the people of our state. It’s also what we need to do to support our healthcare workers who are making heroic efforts to test, treat, and prevent this virus. At the same time, we also have to be patient with ourselves and each other because we’re all doing this for the very first time,” Gov. Evers said in a video to Wisconsinites.“As we’ve faced these challenges over the past few weeks, I have also asked the people of our state to do their part to help. Well here’s the bottom line folks: if, as elected officials, we’re going to expect the people of our state to make sacrifices to keep all of us safe, then, by golly, we better be willing do our part, too. So, today I announced that I am calling the Legislature into a special session to do its part—just as all of us are—to help keep our neighbors, our families, and our communities safe.”The governor previously proposed legislation that had several provisions aimed at making voting easier and more accessible during the public health emergency. A brief summary of that legislation is available here for review. Additionally, Gov. Evers called for the Legislature to act on this issue in a video, available here. Executive Order #73 is available here.