Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Monday signed an executive order suspending in-person voting on the eve of Tuesday’s state and local elections due to the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“The virus directs us as to what our decision-making is, not human beings, and clearly I am following the science, as I always have,” Evers said in an interview with Politico. “Given that, I felt that the governor is the one who has to step up and stand for those people that aren’t having their voices heard.”
“The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today,” the governor added.
Evers delayed the in-person voting date until June 9.
The governor himself has questioned whether he has the power to reschedule the election, and the maneuvering left the fate of the election up in the air less than 24 hours before polls were slated to open. Other states that were slated to vote this month have postponed their elections until May or June, but Republicans in Wisconsin have refused to delay.
At the presidential level, Joe Biden already has a commanding delegate lead over Bernie Sanders, and the Wisconsin results aren’t likely to dampen his march to the Democratic nomination. But the tumult in one of the most critical general election battlegrounds underscored the challenge of voting during a pandemic when public health officials are discouraging groups from gathering for virtually any reason to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.