U.S. Supreme Court Fails Wisconsin Voters, Democracy

MILWAUKEE — All Voting is Local Wisconsin State Director Shauntay Nelson issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order, which reversed a lower court’s ruling that extended the deadline for voters to submit absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s April 7 election and presidential preference primary:

“The Court’s order today defies common sense and threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters. Voters deserve free and fair elections where every voice is heard and the assurance that their health and safety will be protected while our democracy remains intact.”

“It’s shameful that Republicans have used this crisis to their political benefit, silencing voters so they can remain in power. The result has been confusion, chaos and uncertainty for voters, all amid a global health emergency. This is no way to run a democracy. True leadership requires every decision about our elections to be made in the best interests of voters’ health, safety, and the sanctity of our democracy.”

“State lawmakers and election officials must make the following reforms now, to ensure free and fair elections in November, and beyond: Mail all registered voters an absentee ballot, extend the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots, and waive the absentee ballot witness signature requirement. In addition, voters must be assured safe opportunities to vote in person – particularly for people without internet access or mail service, voters who need language assistance, and voters with disabilities.”

 

Background:

As of Monday night, of the 1,264,064 absentee ballots sent to Wisconsin voters, 539,287 (nearly half) have not yet been returned. Given the Court’s order that all ballots must be postmarked by April 7, nearly half a million Wisconsin voters could be disenfranchised.

Despite weeks of advocating for specific election administration needs that would ensure a free and fair election, our legislators have refused to take action. Now, the courts have failed to provide the relief that our democracy needs, and that our public health demands.