Dems Sue Wisconsin to Expand Voting Access in Wake of Pandemic
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.
In The News
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the... Read More
WASHINGTON – All six conservative justices on the Supreme Court appeared inclined Tuesday to support voting restrictions imposed in Arizona that critics say discriminate against racial minorities. The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (Consolidated), is one of the most watched of the current Supreme Court... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Democrats in Congress want to overhaul the nation’s voting laws with the “For the People Act” (H.R. 1). Their majority in the House makes approval of the bill likely as soon as this week. H.R. 1 would reduce barriers to voting by extending early... Read More
ATLANTA (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Georgia muscled legislation through the state House on Monday that would roll back voting access, over the objection of Democrats and civil rights groups gathered at the Capitol to protest. The bill comes after record turnout led to Democratic wins... Read More
ST. LOUIS – The city of St. Louis, Mo., will hold its mayoral primary Tuesday with a new electoral process approved by voters in November. Under the so-called “approval voting” regime, candidates of all political affiliations will appear on the ballot without partisan labels. The measure... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — As Congress begins debate this week on sweeping voting and ethics legislation, Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing: If signed into law, it would usher in the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections law in at least a generation. House Resolution 1,... Read More