What happened in Wisconsin?
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Wisconsinites faced a challenging choice: sit out a critical election or risk contracting the Coronavirus. There were solutions in accordance with public health guidelines. But Republican judges stopped them from being implemented.
In accordance with public health recommendations, Wisconsinites wanted to stay at home, socially distance, and vote by mail in their early April election, which included the presidential primary as well as an important election for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, issued an order suspending in-person voting, but the state’s Republican-controlled Supreme Court, eager to mitigate turnout and thereby help Republican candidates up and down the ballot, struck the order. Then, the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that absentee voting could not be extended — a reckless move that forced Wisconsinites to choose between their right to vote and their safety.
The case brought to the Court was titled “Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee.” A federal court judge in Wisconsin wanted the deadline for receiving absentee ballots to be extended. The Republican Party asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the move, and the Court’s Republican majority obliged. Once again, Republicans on the Roberts Court came together to make it harder for people to vote. This time, with potentially deadly consequences.
Elections for thousands of positions — including the presidential primaries, a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, three seats on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, over 100 other judgeships, and over 500 school board seats — were at stake. The Republicans on the Supreme Court, gambling that restricting the vote as much as possible would help their party’s chances, chose the Republican candidates over Wisconsinites.
Mere hours later, the polls opened. Wisconsin voters waited in long lines, many in inclement conditions, to cast their ballot. As of April 13, the New York Times reported that at least 185,000 absentee ballots remained outstanding, meaning they would come in too late to be counted. Many Wisconsinites could have avoided going to the polls and stayed home if the Supreme Court hadn’t, once again, coalesced to gut our democracy and attempt to suppress votes while putting so many people’s health at risk.
The Republican Supreme Court majority is bad for our health and bad for our democracy. Enough is enough. We’re working to fight back — and we need your help.