While many states have delayed their presidential primaries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the state of Wisconsin has made no changes and is holding their primary this Tuesday.
Residents will have to venture out of their homes while the state is still under a health advisory, to vote for which presidential candidates they want to square off in November’s general election.
Politicians in the state wanted to lengthen the window of opportunity for voters to cast their ballots, but the states’ Supreme Court overturned the motion—forcing the business-as-usual scheduled vote. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision.
As Politico reports, former Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate is blaming the state’s Republican Party and accused the conservative-majority on both courts of playing politics.
“I’ve been here 10 years watching this. I am surprised that I’m surprised,” Tate said. “If anybody thinks that if we were under Gov. [Scott] Walker that this court would have ruled the same way that they have today has not been paying attention to what’s been going on in this state for the last decade.”
The state Supreme Court — which includes Walker appointees — overturned an order by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who himself was initially reluctant to postpone the primary, even over pleas from fellow Democrats.
A source close to Evers said the first-term governor, hemmed in by the GOP-controlled Legislature, considered it counterproductive to force an issue he would not win at a time when he needed Republican help to advance a coronavirus funding package. Evers further feared if the matter went before the state court, which holds a conservative majority, he risked inadvertently creating a precedent that could threaten a governor’s emergency powers.
As the pandemic — and pleas for delay from local mayors — intensified, Evers changed his tune, leading to Monday’s order to delay the primary.
A federal district court then overturned the ruling, allowing the Democratic governor the discretion to orchestrate the primary election within the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
As BizPac Review reports, the U.S. Supreme Court then overturned the ruling again, saying they were following court precedent in determining that state should not change the way it conducts its election.
“Extending the date by which ballots may be cast by voters — not just received by the municipal clerks but cast by voters — for an additional six days after the scheduled election day fundamentally alters the nature of the election,” the majority said in the final decision. “The court would prefer not to do so, but when a lower court intervenes and alters the election rules so close to the election date, our precedents indicate that this court, as appropriate, should correct that error.”