With voters set to decide local school board and other nonpartisan local contests, a state Supreme Court race, and cast presidential preference votes, Gov. Evers has decided against postponing Wisconsin’s April 7 election.
However, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus through social distancing, state officials are urging Wisconsinites to vote early or cast absentee ballots. Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, encourages individuals to go to myvote.wi.gov to request an absentee ballot online. Registered voters can also mail, email or fax an absentee ballot request to their municipal clerk’s office.
The deadline for registering online is March 18. The deadline for registered voters to request an absentee ballot by mail is April 2. Absentee ballots must be received in a local clerk’s office or at a voter’s polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Unlike Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana, which have all postponed their scheduled presidential primary elections, it is unclear whether Wisconsin’s governor has the legal authority to postpone or delay an election due to a health emergency. Legal experts disagree about the extent of the governor’s emergency powers when a constitutional right such as voting is concerned.
Election officials are also moving polling places away from nursing homes or care facilities that house high-risk populations due to public health concerns. With schools closed, decisions will have to be made about whether to house polling places in schools. Stay tuned.