RACINE, WI — As the days tick down to the April 7 presidential primary and general election in Wisconsin, local officials are applying pressure on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the election in the midst of the coronavirus public health emergency.
In Racine, Mayor Cory Mason sent an open letter to Evers, calling for a number of provisions, including delaying the election by nearly a month, mailing every registered voter a ballot and suspending some voter ID laws, among other measures.
"As a Mayor, I am watching these two sacred duties collide with one another. There is a contradiction in place here. How, in the midst of a statewide coronavirus 'stay at home' order, do we simultaneously encourage millions of people to go out on April 7, stand in lines in close proximity, and cast a vote? There does not appear to be a safe way to conduct both of these activities simultaneously," Mason said in a statement.
Mason made the following recommendations to Evers in his letter:
Every registered voter shall be mailed a ballot.
- Suspend the requirement that a photo ID be presented before a ballot can be mailed and
- Witness requirements for the absentee ballots should be waived to maintain social distancing.
- The actual Election Day would need to be postponed between three to four weeks to allow a reasonable amount of time to facilitate this process.
- Local jurisdictions should be given authority to conduct the election in a way to maintain and enhance social distancing for people voting in person on Election Day, such as drive-through voting.
Newspaper Calls For Later Election
In an editorial published Wednesday, the Journal Times editorial board sounded a similar opinion about the upcoming election day, calling for its postponement out of an interest in public safety.
"The decision to postpone and set a new date — ideally in two months — needs to be done today," the paper wrote.