|Vol. 15 No. 7
APRIL 6, 2020
Columns & Features
by Heidi M. Pascual
by Jamala Rogers
What a whirlwind the past 24 hours have been with all of the events spurred by COVID-19. It’s as if
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in our lives like a hurricane, taking some people’s lives and leaving
others untouched. And as the COVID-19 wind continues to blow, it has left some of our very institutions
teetering in its wake.
a late flurry of requests.
On April 6th, 1,275,154 absentee ballot requests had been received and 724,777 had been returned with approximately 550,000 remaining to be received and/or
returned. I don’t know how many of those absentee ballots had been requested last Friday and how long it will take the municipal clerks to mail them out. But while
the election hadn’t been postponed, a reasonable amount of flexibility had been created to help ensure that everyone had the chance to exercise their right to vote and
had over a week to get their absentee ballots to their municipal clerks.
In 2016, 2,113,544 people voted in Wisconsin’s presidential primary. That would leave approximately 838,390 people beyond those who requested absentee ballots
with no choice but to go to the polls on April 7.
And then at 12:47 p.m., Governor Tony Evers issued an executive order suspending in-person voting on April 7th because of the public health risk posed by COVID-
19 and said the primary would be held on June 9th. He would also call the legislature together on April 7th in a special session to address the election date.
I was grateful to Governor Evers for postponing the date to allow more Wisconsinites the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote in a healthy
manner. No matter how many precautions voters and poll workers would take, it was still a danger to their health. And so approximately 838,390 voters were spared
the difficult choice between possible health consequences and their right to vote. Tony Evers is someone who genuinely cares about all Wisconsinites.
But the Republican lawyers were working overtime. They had two court decisions that they were working to overturn in the 11th hour. And at approximately 4:52 p.
m. on Monday afternoon, a scant five hours after Evers issued his executive order, word began to leak out that the Wisconsin Supreme Court had issued an order
reversing Evers’ executive order, meaning that the April 7th primary election was still going to be held. Apparently the Republicans bypassed the circuit courts and
the court of appeals and went directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that is dominated by Republican-backed and conservative judges who have been very
supportive of the Republican legislature. Talk about a close-knit ruling class.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court decision didn’t have any jurisdiction over Judge Conley’s previous ruling, leaving the April 13th deadline for the receipt of absentee
ballots, no matter when they were mailed before that.
However, a short time later, in a 5-4 ruling, split between conservative and liberal judges, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated Judge Conley’s order. Therefore, not only
was the April 7th election still on, but all of those who had requested an absentee ballot, but hadn’t received one still had to have their ballots postmarked by April 7th.
-- READ MORE
by Jamala Rogers
|Getting the Facts on COVID-19
By Andrew Gramling
As the sun began to rise Monday morning, it was the expectation of many that Federal Judge William Conley’s ruling would guide Wisconsin’s
April 7th election primary. In that ruling, Conley stated that the election would proceed on April 7th and that those who had requested absentee
ballots by April 3rd would have until April 13th to have their ballots received by the municipal clerk’s office in order to be counted. There was