Will Legislature Delay Election?
Life-and-death issue poses the most danger for Milwaukee. Only the Legislature can act.
Yesterday Mayor Tom Barrett called on state officials to both delay the April 7 election and make it a ballot-by-mail election only. Barrett said the COVID-19 pandemic had made an in-person election unsafe, and would endanger the lives of both voters and poll workers.
It’s now Wednesday and there has been no response. A request for comment sent by Urban Milwaukee to Evers, Vos and Fitzgerald has so far received no answer.
But under the Wisconsin Constitution, Evers can’t really do anything about it. Nor can the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Only the Legislature has the power to make the changes called for by Barrett, says Reid Magney, communications director for the election commission. “The Legislature absolutely has the authority to change it.”
And within Milwaukee County, the problem is further concentrated, with most cases occurring on the north side among African Americans particularly in low income neighborhoods. Odds are the cases in Dane County are also concentrated in the city of Madison.
In short, the people who will be most endangered by turning out to vote will be urbanites in heavily Democratic Milwaukee and Madison. And as it happens, these are also the voters most likely to vote for liberal Jill Karofsky in the election for Wisconsin Supreme Court against conservative Dan Kelly, who is backed by Republicans. A fear of catching the virus could greatly lower the turnout in the state’s two largest cities, thereby electing Kelly.
That might suggest an additional reason why Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele favor delaying the election, and why advocacy groups working with minority voters in Milwaukee have called for officials to postpone the election.
The might also explain why the Democratic National Committee, with support from the state Democratic Party, filed suit in federal court to extend the deadline for online registration of new voters to April (a federal judge ruled in favor of a March 30th deadline) and the Democratic-leaning City of Green Bay has just filed suit in federal court asking to delay the spring election in Wisconsin and transition to a mail-in ballot election only.
Meanwhile what is the response from Vos and Fitzgerald to this issue? This afternoon, the two Republicans announced that they support Gov. Evers’ current plan to proceed with in-person voting in the April 7 election, as the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The timing of this was interesting as Evers has yet to respond to Barrett’s call to delay the election. The Republicans are putting pressure on Evers to stick with his earlier pronouncement, while also noting that only the Legislature has the power to change the date. Meanwhile they said not a word about the concerns of Milwaukee’s mayor, who is closest to the situation here, that an in-person election on April 7 will endanger lives.
Should either Vos or Fitzgerald ever respond to Barrett’s concerns, I will update this story.
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More about the 2020 Spring Primary
- Federal Judge Won’t Delay Spring Election - Laurel White - Mar 28th, 2020
- Vote Absentee: Milwaukee County Circuit Court – Branch 29 - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 28th, 2020
- Vote Absentee: Milwaukee County Circuit Court – Branch 5 - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 28th, 2020
- Vote Absentee: Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 28th, 2020
- Milwaukee Establishes Drive-Up Early Voting - City of Milwaukee Election Commission - Mar 27th, 2020
- Governor Calls for Mail-In Election - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 27th, 2020
- County Clerk Christenson and All 19 Municipal Clerks in Milwaukee County Ask State Leadership for April 7th Spring General Election Changes - George Christenson - Mar 27th, 2020
- Fitzgerald Rejects Evers’ Idea as Fantasy - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 27th, 2020
- Statement: County Clerks’ Clear Violation of the Law - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 27th, 2020
- City Will Accept Absentee Ballots, Serve as Required Witness at Five Sites - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 26th, 2020
- Murphy’s Law: Will Legislature Delay Election? - Bruce Murphy - Mar 25th, 2020
- 23 Advisory Votes on Gerrymandering - Matt Rothschild - Mar 25th, 2020
- Barrett Calls for Mail-In Only Election, Delay - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 24th, 2020
- Milwaukee Cancels Early Voting - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 22nd, 2020
- Milwaukee Closing Early Voting Sites - City of Milwaukee Election Commission - Mar 22nd, 2020
- Online Voter Registration Reinstated by Federal Judge - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 21st, 2020
- Governor Evers Doesn’t Want Election Rescheduled - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 20th, 2020
- Voters Wanting Absentee Ballot Must be Registered by March 18th - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 18th, 2020
- Please Vote Absentee In Spring Election - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2020
- Want $130? City Needs Poll Workers - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 15th, 2020
- 9 Election Takeaways - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 19th, 2020
- Election Results: 2020 Spring Primary - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 18th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: County Board Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: Common Council Races - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: County Executive Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: Circuit Court Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: State Supreme Court Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: Comptroller Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: City Attorney Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: Mayoral Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 14th, 2020