With the coronavirus spreading across America, several states have already delayed voting in their primary elections to avoid as much human-to-human contact as possible.
Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is responsible for one of the most important battleground states in the 2020 presidential election, recently signed an executive order to postpone the state’s primary election absentee ballot deadline.
However, both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin State Supreme Court have stepped in to deliver a last-minute ruling to stop Democrats from changing the primary election rules.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Ever’s executive order to postpone the primary election until June, but Republicans immediately took it to court and won.
Then, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned another lower court ruling that gave voters six more days to hand in their absentee ballots.
The rulings, both on ideological lines by the conservative-led courts, were victories for the Republicans who control the state Senate and Assembly and have opposed all efforts to stop in-person voting from taking place Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Wisconsin had taken over the legal battle on the GOP-led legislature’s behalf, while the state and national Democratic parties had pushed for more lenient rules around absentee voting.
They came despite fears from state and local officials that holding an election in the middle of a pandemic could put the health of poll workers and voters at risk.
Voters will decide on Tuesday the state’s Democratic presidential primary between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as a general elections for a state Supreme Court seat and a host of local offices.
The vacancy on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is already set to be a gigantic issue this November given Republicans currently hold a 5-2 majority.
The CNN report continues about a current elections case before the state’s Supreme Court:
The court is currently deadlocked 3-3 on a voting rights case that could result in 240,000 people being removed from Wisconsin’s voter rolls ahead of November’s election. Kelly’s seat could represent the deciding vote, and Kelly has abstained from voting ahead of the spring election.
Already, municipalities were consolidating voting locations. Milwaukee is set to open just five polling places Tuesday. And Evers had prepared to dispatch the Wisconsin National Guard to man those polling places after poll workers quit.
In emergency meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission was set to take place Monday evening, as officials there sorted through the court rulings.
The state Supreme Court’s ruling was the culmination of days of efforts by Evers to delay the primary or shift it to by-mail voting only. He had said Monday when he signed the executive order pushing the primary back to June 9 that it was his final option to prevent in-person voting from taking place Tuesday.
In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court justices argued that changing that deadline “so close to the election date,” and adding six more days for ballots to be cast “fundamentally alters the nature of the election.”
The Court said it did not want to get involved 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.”
The U.S. Supreme Court vote went along party lines, with all four liberal justices dissented.
The Supreme Court has already handed down several major rulings this month.
The nation’s highest court issued a 7-2 decision last week that gives federal appeals courts greater authority to review rulings by immigration courts and a Justice Department appeals panel that oversees those courts.
The SCOTUS recently ruled that the Trump administration can enforce the “remain in Mexico” policy.
Before that, the High Court ruled 5-4 in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
In the other immigration case, the Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing the Trump administration to enforce its “public charge” immigration rule, which allows them to deny green cards to immigrants who would be dependent on government welfare for extended periods.
The SCOTUS also ruled 9-0 that there must actually be racism in racism cases.