Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wednesday formally called on officials in Wisconsin to postpone the state’s upcoming April 7 election, pitching an extension of early voting and urging the state to “move entirely to vote-by-mail.”
“People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote, which is why 15 states are now following the advice of public health experts and delaying their elections,” Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday. “We urge Wisconsin to join them.”
Not only should the state delay the election; it should also, according to Sanders, “extend early voting and work to move entirely to vote-by-mail” — an agenda item keenly pressed by his progressive counterparts in recent weeks.
“While we wait for a decision, we urge our supporters to vote-by-mail,” he added, reiterating his call in a tweet:
People shouldn't have to put their lives on the line to vote. Wisconsin should join the 15 states delaying elections, delay Tuesday’s vote, extend early voting, and work to send every voter a ballot by mail. While we wait for a decision we urge our supporters to vote-by-mail.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 1, 2020
The left’s call for vote-by-mail, however, should not be confused with absentee voting. Voters in Wisconsin, for example, have until Tuesday to request — keyword, request — an absentee ballot. He or she must fill out the ballot in the presence of a witness, who must sign the absentee certificate envelope. The progressive movement is moving its focus to mail-in ballots, which do not require a request from the voter.
Sanders’ call for a delay comes as Wisconsin officials continue to charge on with their plans to hold the election as scheduled, despite a shortage of poll workers due to growing fears of the coronavirus pandemic. The shortage is leading several polling locations across the state to shut down or consolidate. Some local officials, like Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, hold a similar position to Sanders and are calling for a delay of the election.
“With all the evidence in front of me, I can only conclude that the best way – and perhaps the only way – to hold a fair and safe election is to postpone it,” Rhodes-Conway said.