Amid mounting US virus cases, Wisconsin pushes ahead with Democratic primary

The US state of Wisconsin is set to proceed with its in-person Democratic primary election, despite calls to postpone the

wisconsin primary

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

The US state of Wisconsin is set to proceed with its in-person Democratic primary election, despite calls to postpone the vote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Saturday, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled state legislature declined to take action on Democratic Governor Tony Evers’s call to make today’s vote an all-mail election and extend the deadline to send in ballots until May.

To date, Wisconsin has over 2,220 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost 70 deaths. With a stay-at-home order in place, Democrats are concerned that proceeding with the election will send a conflicting signal to, and ultimately disenfranchise, voters.

With over 300,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in the US and close to 10,000 deaths, the fate of the remaining Democratic Party primaries—and perhaps even the November 2020 presidential election—remains uncertain. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues through the northern summer and conditions remain unsafe for in-person voting, the delay threatens to upend the national vote.

Such an outcome would undoubtedly trigger a constitutional crisis. While federal law determines when the election is held, the question of COVID-19 voter disenfranchisement could see a Supreme Court challenge and even more hyper-partisanship in Washington.

Update 1: Governor Evers has suspended the primaries; the legislature said it would ask the state’s Supreme Court to block the decision.

Update 2: Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has blocked Evers from delaying the primary.

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