© 2022 WXPR
Mirror of the Northwoods. Window on the World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
0000017b-185c-d2e5-a37b-5cff92510000Wisconsin State and Local Government Sources: Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)Oneida County Health DepartmentVilas County Health DepartmentLincoln County Health DepartmentMarathon County Health Department Langlade County Health DepartmentWestern Upper Peninsula Health DepartmentForest County Health DepartmentFederal Government Sources:Centers for Disease Control (CDC)Risk Assessment PageSituation Summary PageState Department Travel AdvisoriesWorld Health Organization (WHO)WHO Question and Answer Page

Wisconsin Primary To Go On But Absentee Voting Extended, Federal Judge Rules

Early voters cast their ballots at last month in Milwaukee.
Early voters cast their ballots at last month in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin's April 7 primary will proceed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but with significant changes, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge William Conley said he could not change the date of the election but chastised Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled legislature for not rescheduling the election.

"As much as the court would prefer that the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor consider the public health ahead of any political considerations, that does not appear in the cards," Conley wrote. "Nor is it appropriate for a federal district court to act as the state's chief health official by taking that step for them."

Instead, Conley extended the deadline for voters to submit absentee ballots from April 7 to April 13 and ordered the state to waive requirements that absentee voters have a witness sign their ballot. Voters have requested a record 1.1 million absentee ballots ahead of the election, which includes the presidential primary as well as numerous state and local offices.

The state told Conley earlier this week it was planning to call in National Guard troops to staff polling sites because as many as 7,000 volunteers were not expected to show up.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez applauded Conley's decision, saying in a statement,"Expanding access to absentee voting is critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and we continue to encourage all states to pursue vote-by-mail and no-excuse absentee voting to ensure that all eligible voters who want to cast a ballot have the means and ability to do so."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.