Wisconsin GOP wants to force people to vote in person during pandemic


Holding the election on Tuesday would mean forcing voters to risk their health to cast in-person ballots.

Wisconsin Republican House Speaker Robin Vos is challenging Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' decision to postpone the state's primary elections over fears of spreading COVID-19, calling Evers' decision "constitutional overreach."

"We are immediately challenging this executive order in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court," Vos, along with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said in a statement on Monday.

Holding the election on Tuesday would mean forcing voters to risk their health to cast in-person ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.

Numerous other states have either postponed their primary elections or changed the rules so that voters only cast ballots by mail — avoiding in-person voting sites where the novel coronavirus might spread.

But Republicans in Wisconsin want to hold Tuesday's election as scheduled. At stake is a Republican-held state Supreme Court seat that Democrats seek to flip. Mother Jones reported that Republicans in the state "may be counting on low Democratic turnout to help them win."

Republicans hold a 5-2 majority on the court.

While Vos wants to force voters in his state to head to the polls in the midst of a pandemic, there was a previous instance when he felt a primary election should be postponed.

Last September, Vos, who is not Jewish, tried to delay a congressional special election primary because it fell on the final night of Hanukkah.

But, as the Orthodox Jewish movement Chabad points out, Hanukkah is not a major religious holiday.

Observant Jews are free to go about their regular daily lives during Hanukkah, unlike during other Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashana and Passover, which are "Biblically prescribed days of rest," according to Chabad.

No one would be risking their health by voting on Hanukkah.

April 6, 5:58 p.m. ET: In a last-minute decision on Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers' order postponing Tuesday's primary election. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the vote was split 4-2, withe conservative justices in the majority.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.