Wisconsin Governor Says All Voters Should Get an Absentee Ballot

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday asked the state Legislature to reconvene and pass legislation to allow every registered voter in the state to receive an absentee ballot for the April 7 presidential primary.

In a telephone news conference, Evers (D) also called on lawmakers to approve that every ballot postmarked by April 7 will be valid, and to extend how long elections clerks have to tabulate the votes. Any such extension would be up to the legislature to determine.

More than 10 other states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, have delayed voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am asking the legislature to come together in a bipartisan way to change the law to ensure that every registered voter receives an absentee ballot to vote in the upcoming election,” Evers said. “I don’t care who’s running for office or what’s on the ballot. Everybody should be able to participate in our democracy. Period.”

The state Legislature’s final regular floor session for 2020 was Feb. 21, and its leadership hasn’t announced an intention to reconvene for the rest of the year. Both the Assembly and state Senate are controlled by Republicans. Evers, a Democrat, has publicly skirmished with Republican leaders on a variety of issues.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) dismissed the idea.

“The clerks of this state should know this is a complete fantasy,” Fitzgerald said. “Governor Evers just proposed procuring, printing, verifying, and mandating the mailing of millions of ballots within ten days. Even he knows that’s not logistically feasible.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Joyce in Chicago at sjoyce@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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