Voters in Wisconsin will face a choice Tuesday of participating in a presidential primary election or heeding warnings from public health officials to stay away from large crowds during the pandemic. Hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an order Monday postponing the election for two months, the AP reports, the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with Republicans who said he didn't have the authority to reschedule the race on his own. Conservative justices on the US Supreme Court quickly followed with a ruling blocking Democratic efforts to extend absentee voting. The decisions leave Wisconsin as the only state with an election scheduled in April that is proceeding as planned. As other states prepare to vote in May or June, Wisconsin will be watched for signs that fears of the coronavirus may depress turnout or cause other problems at the polls.
The governor's order came after the GOP-controlled Legislature refused his request to cancel in-person voting on Tuesday. The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access in the age of coronavirus with major implications for the presidential primary contests ahead—and, possibly, the November general election. The US Supreme Court split 5-4 Monday, with the five Republican-appointed justices siding with the national and state party to overturn a lower court ruling that expanded absentee voting. In an unsigned opinion, the court said absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by Tuesday evening or postmarked by Tuesday. In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, "The Court's order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement."
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