Dems Sue Wisconsin to Expand Voting Access in Wake of Pandemic

March 19, 2020 by Dan McCue
Brian Maurizi casts his vote in the Democratic Primary at New City School in St. Louis on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

WASHINGTON – The Democratic Party sued the state of Wisconsin Wednesday in a bid to expand access to voting in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The filing of the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin coincides with the state deadline for electronic and by-mail registration to participate in Wisconsin’s April 7 primary.

“Nobody should have to choose between exposure to COVID-19 and disenfranchisement,” said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“The court should immediately strike down the barriers to full participation in voting by mail,” he continued. “Our democracy depends on our ability to conduct free, safe, and fair elections, no matter what—even during a pandemic.”

The lawsuit asked the court to:

  • Extend the electronic and by-mail registration to April 3;
  • Suspend the requirement that copies of photo identification accompany absentee ballot requests and copies of proof of residency documents accompany voter registration requests, for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak; and
  • Extend the current deadline requiring absentee mail-in ballots to be received by  8:00 p.m. on Election Day to being postmarked by Election Day and received by municipal clerks’ offices within 10 days of the election.  

“These steps are critical to ensuring that all Wisconsinites who wish to participate in the April 7 elections are able to do so,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

“Given the necessary measures taken by Governor Evers and public health officials in Wisconsin to limit the spread of the virus, it’s more important than ever that we expand access to voting, and increasing these necessary measures will help protect both public health and Wisconsinites’ right to participate in our democracy,” he said. 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, as of Wednesday afternoon there were 106 confirmed cases COVID-19 in the state.

In order to control the spread of the coronavirus, schools, libraries, and businesses across the state have closed, Gov. Tom Evers banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the state, and public health officials have recommended social distancing and self-isolation to individuals in Wisconsin and across the country.

The plaintiffs contend the unintended consequence of these measures is a limit on the ability of Wisconsinites to access the tools necessary to comply with current rules around voter registration and absentee ballot submissions and potentially prevent countless Wisconsinites from successfully voting.

Voting

Texas Democrats Sue Elections Officials to Demand Mail-In Voting
Political News
Texas Democrats Sue Elections Officials to Demand Mail-In Voting

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Democratic Party sued state and county election officials in federal court on Tuesday to demand mail-in voting for elections scheduled during the coronavirus pandemic. In a complaint filed in the San Antonio federal district court, Texas Democrats sued Gov. Greg Abbott,... Read More

Wisconsin Primary to Proceed Tuesday After Court Blocks Delay
2020 Elections
Wisconsin Primary to Proceed Tuesday After Court Blocks Delay
April 7, 2020
by Dan McCue

Wisconsin’s presidential preference and other primaries will proceed as scheduled Tuesday after the state Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ last-minute attempt to delay in-person voting by executive order. The state’s highest court, voting 4-2, agreed with Republican legislators who had argued the governor lacked the... Read More

Federal Judge Won't Postpone Wisconsin Primary, But Expands Voting
2020 Elections
Federal Judge Won't Postpone Wisconsin Primary, But Expands Voting
April 3, 2020
by Dan McCue

A federal judge on Thursday refused to push back the date of Wisconsin's April 7 presidential primary despite concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. U.S. District Judge William Conley's ruling came after listening to arguments Wednesday over whether the primary should be moved while dire warnings... Read More

Pelosi to Push Vote-By-Mail Funding for States in Next Stimulus
Congress
Pelosi to Push Vote-By-Mail Funding for States in Next Stimulus

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the nation must move to a vote-by-mail system amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and that she plans to advocate funding for that in the next stimulus measure. “In terms of the elections, I think that we will probably be moving... Read More

New York Postpones Primary, Risking Loss of Delegates
State News
New York Postpones Primary, Risking Loss of Delegates
March 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

New York is postponing its April 28 presidential primary until June 23, a late date that places it at risk of forfeiting some of its delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. The reason for the delay, which was announced Saturday, is the coronavirus outbreak... Read More

Rhode Island Secretary of State Sees Opportunity in Primary Delay to June 2
State News
Rhode Island Secretary of State Sees Opportunity in Primary Delay to June 2
March 27, 2020
by Dan McCue

Less than a week after Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo approved a board of elections request to move the state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 2, a plan to have a mostly mail-in election in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is already taking... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top