Wisconsin Republicans Oppose Voting Changes Sought Due to Virus Outbreak
The leaders of Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature told a federal judge Thursday they are opposed to a request by Democrats to amend absentee and online primary rules in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The state Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday afternoon calling for an extension of the deadline for online and by-mail voter registration; lifting requirements that voters include photo identification when applying for absentee ballots; and allowing clerks to receive absentee ballots for up to 10 days following the election.
The deadline for online and by-mail voter registration expired Wednesday; presently, absentee ballots can only be accepted until 8 p.m. on election night.
But in a letter delivered to U.S. District Judge William Conley on Thursday, Micha Tseytlin, attorney for the GOP lawmakers, said the legislature opposes changing voting rules and procedures in the midst of an ongoing election.
Tseytlin also asked the judge to take no action on the case until the attorney can prepare a formal brief laying out the legislature’s arguments.
Wisconsin’s spring election is currently scheduled for April 7. The ballot includes the presidential primary, a state Supreme Court race and races for local offices.
Prior to the delivery of Tseytlin’s letter, the Republican leaders asked members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Organization to vote on a measure that would give lawmakers blanket authority to intervene in cases challenging the state’s election laws.
Laws that Republicans passed in December of 2018, after former Gov. Scott Walker lost re-election but before Democratic Gov. Tony Evers took office, gave the Legislature broader authority to intervene in some cases, especially those challenging state law.
But the Republicans have previously said they do not trust Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, to always adequately defend state law.
When they intervene, Republicans are able to hire private attorneys to represent the Legislature instead of deferring to Kaul — even though his office would continue to defend the state alongside the Legislature’s lawyers in any dispute.
In The News
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Republican candidate saw her vote lead dwindle to single digits Wednesday in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District as a dramatic recount moved toward a conclusion in a race that will help determine the size of Democrats’ majority in the House of... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the... Read More
Throughout the 2020 election cycle a persistent narrative was just how divided the United States has become. But an as-yet uncalled House race in Iowa is taking the concept of a nation equally divided between Republicans and Democrats to a whole new level. Since Monday, the... Read More
HARRISBURG, Pa. - It wasn't the kind of breaking news one expected while scanning Pennsylvania's all news radio stations for word on the state certifying the 2020 election results. "Now back to our top story," one news anchor after another said over the course of the... Read More
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Bookvar certified the results of the 2020 presidential election Tuesday, after all 67 counties in the state certified their individual results late Monday night. A short time later, as required by federal law, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the... Read More
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's partial presidential recount entered its fourth day Monday, with very few changes in vote totals as President Donald Trump's attorneys appeared to be focused on a legal challenge seeking to toss tens of thousands of ballots, including the one cast by... Read More