Statement from the Office of Mayor Rhodes-Conway Regarding State Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Governor Evers’ Election Order and the U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Eliminate the Extra Time Granted to Receive and Count Absentee Ballots
Monday, April 6, 2020 - 8:18pm
This afternoon, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin overturned Governor Evers’ Executive Order postponing tomorrow’s election for public health reasons, meaning the April 7th election will move forward as planned. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court also acted late today to overturn a federal court ruling attempting to give absentee voters more time to get their ballots in to be counted.
In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said that Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin could extend the time for receipt of absentee ballots to April 13, but not the time for delivery or postmark. Absentee ballots must be postmarked or delivered by tomorrow, April 7, the date of the in-person voting. Many ballots, especially those mailed late last week, have not been received yet by voters.
According to Assembly Leader Gordon Hintz, only 55% of absentee ballots statewide have been returned and 565,000 ballots remain outstanding. Half a million people who have been ordered to stay at home must now rush to get ballots in the mail or be forced into limited polling stations.
Under these new rulings, witnessed absentee ballots can be placed in a drop box at Pinney Library, Sequoya Library, or Central Library by noon tomorrow, or they can be witnessed and dropped off at polling places until 8:00 p.m. tomorrow. If you have not received your ballot you can still come into the polling place and vote. The City has taken extraordinary measures to make voting safe including offering curbside voting, installing Plexiglas shields between poll workers and voters, disinfecting voting booths between each voter, and marking the floors to help keep people six feet apart. To determine where you are to vote, go to: www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/where-do-i-vote/
Below is a statement from Mayor Rhodes-Conway:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is moving ahead with the April 7 election in reckless disregard for public health and the constitutionally-protected right to vote. With Milwaukee collapsing polling places from 180 to 5, and other communities doing the same, the Supreme Court will force thousands of people to either cast their votes in crowds as the height of the pandemic approaches, or stay at home and be disenfranchised.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong with this election, not because of the pandemic, but because of cruel choices made by Republican politicians and their pet judges.
People who did what they were told to do will not be able to cast the absentee ballots they requested. More than 20,000 absentee ballots have not yet been returned in Madison, and more than half a million statewide. Now voters will be forced to choose between their health and their right to vote, an untenable choice that responsible public officials tried to avoid. The courts and the state legislative majority have undone our best efforts to make this a safe election.
- Christie Baumel, 608-266-4611, email@example.com