As of right now, Wisconsin still plans to hold regular spring elections on April 7, 2020. Due to COVID-19 concerns Gov. Tony Evers and other state and local officials are encouraging voters to request absentee ballots. (A federal judge extended the deadline to request a mail-in ballot to April 2.)
COVID-19 Election Concerns
Other states have postponed elections and some municipalities have called on Gov. Evers to do the same. However, Gov. Evers has stated he still plans to hold the Wisconsin primary on its scheduled date, though he has told reporters he is evaluating the possibility of shifting the election to mail-in voting only. Legislative leaders have indicated they agree with the governor’s decision not to move the election date.
Many municipalities have ended their early voting options, citing COVID-19 concerns. On March 22, a large group of local officials sent Gov. Evers and legislative leadership a letter asking for options to make holding elections easier on municipalities and voters in the midst of COVID-19.
The governor’s office is currently working with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election officials on obtaining sanitizing supplies to keep polling sites clean, obtaining more absentee ballots, recruiting poll workers, and addressing other issues related to the unusual circumstances of these elections.
Preview of Races
On the ballot in April are an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the presidential primary, and many local races.
Wisconsin Supreme Court: In the Supreme Court race, incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky will compete in the April general election. In the February primary, conservative Kelly picked up most rural counties in the state, while liberal Karofsky performed strongly in areas in and around Dane and Milwaukee Counties. The Supreme Court currently sits at a 5-2 conservative majority. After this spring, the next Supreme Court election will not be until Chief Justice Roggensack is up for reelection in 2023.
Presidential Primary: Although presidential primary updates have taken a backseat to COVID-19 news, Democratic voters in Wisconsin will still be voting for a candidate in the presidential primary on April 7. The race has narrowed to Vice President Joe Biden, who has taken a significant lead after Super Tuesday, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). Sanders won the Democratic primary in Wisconsin in 2018, though his opponent Hillary Clinton eventually became the nominee. Latest Marquette poll.