Citing public health emergency, Evers calls for delay in April election

Governor's plan would give residents until May 19 to vote by mail

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, right, speaks to the crowd before a listening session at the University of Wisconsin-Superior Monday, April 15, 2019. (Jed Carlson /

Citing a consolidation of polling places throughout the state that could endanger public health, Gov. Tony Evers called on lawmakers Friday to delay Wisconsin's election, giving voters until Tuesday, May 19 to cast mail-in ballots.

Evers called a special session of the Legislature for Saturday to pass the changes, just three days before Wisconsin voters are scheduled to head to the polls.

The call from Evers marked the first time the governor had said Wisconsin's April election should be delayed, and it marked his sharpest break yet from Republicans who run the state Legislature. Previously, Evers and GOP leaders had said the April 7 election should proceed as scheduled, citing the large number of state and local offices throughout Wisconsin that could go unfilled.

"Yeah, it's late in the game, there's no question," Evers told reporters at a media briefing Friday, but he said a growing number of COVID-19 cases, coupled with a decrease in polling places, had guided his decision. "I'm hopeful that common sense will prevail."

Evers said he had not yet talked to GOP leaders about the proposal, and they did not immediately respond to the plan. Lawmakers are not required to convene the Legislature when the governor calls a special session.


The governor's special session call comes a day after a U.S. District Court Judge William Conley declined calls to delay Wisconsin's Tuesday election , saying that call was for the governor and Legislature to make, not a federal judge.

Conley also ordered clerks to continue to count absentee ballots until Monday, April 13. He issued a follow-up order Friday banning Wisconsin clerks from releasing unofficial results on election night, saying they'll have to wait until April 13 instead. Normally, those ballots would need to be received by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at .

What To Read Next
Get Local