The state Supreme Court Monday afternoon overturned Tony Evers’ order pushing back in-person voting until June, putting the spring election back on hours after he sought to delay it amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evers’ order was enjoined in its entirety in the 4-2 ruling other than a provision calling the Legislature into a special session Tuesday to pick a new date for in-person voting. That provision is now moot with the election moving forward.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Juneau, who led the legal fight over the guv’s order, praised the decision. They said the ruling affirms the separation of powers and ensures guvs can’t “unilaterally move the date of the election.”
Evers had raised the safety threat in-person voting poses to poll workers and voters tomorrow in issuing his order. But the GOP leaders said they continue to believe citizens should be able to exercise their right to vote at the polls tomorrow if they choose to do so and pointed to the number of absentee ballots that have been requested.
“We are proud that Wisconsinites have come together to meet the challenges that this pandemic has created,” they said. “The safety and health of our citizens have always been our highest concern; that’s why we advocated for everyone to vote absentee.”
The short order didn’t include the court’s reasoning, saying a more comprehensive opinion will follow.
Liberal justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet dissented, while conservative Daniel Kelly didn’t participate.
Evers said there are few things more sacred than the right to vote. But Tuesday, thousands will have to choose between exercising that right and protecting their health.
“In this time of historic crisis, it is a shame that two branches of government in this state chose to pass the buck instead of taking responsibility for the health and safety of the people we were elected to serve,” Evers said.
Read the order.