Gov. Tony Evers suspends in-person voting until June

Legislative leaders say they'll challenge the governor's executive order.

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 /

Voters may not be casting their votes Tuesday, April 7 after Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order suspending in-person voting in Wisconsin.

Evers signed the executive order April 6 in the absence of legislative action on the election. The order also directs the Legislature to hold a special session April 7 to address the election date. If the Legislature does not enact legislation to change the new election date, in-person voting will occur June 9. Terms in local offices expire in April.

Evers said his order extends those terms to provide continuity in local government during the pandemic.

“I can’t stand by and do nothing,” Evers said.

However, leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature filed an injunction with the state Supreme Court to block Evers' order around 3 p.m. Monday.


In a statement, Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, called Ever's action a "last minute flip-flop," and referred to a tweet Evers sent on Wednesday, April 1. In the tweet , Evers said taking executive action to cancel the election would violate state law.

“The clerks of this state should stand ready to proceed with the election,” Fitzgerald and Vos said. “The governor’s executive order is clearly an unconstitutional overreach.”

Circumstances have changed, Evers said. With the number of cases of COVID-19 and deaths from it rising in Wisconsin, he said the health and safety of the people in Wisconsin drove his decision to sign the order. Polling places are being consolidated because of the pandemic, and Evers said that puts people at risk of contracting the virus.

Superior City Clerk Terri Kalan said she hopes there is a ruling by the end of the day so she can notify election officials whether the polls will be open April 7.

One of the justices on the state Supreme Court, Justice Daniel Kelly, is on the ballot tomorrow. Kelly recused himself from the case, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Evers said he expects a fair hearing from the court and believes the justices will side with safety of people in Wisconsin under the current health crisis.

“I’m making this case on public health status so we’re counting on the Supreme Court to support us,” Evers said.

With only five polling sites open in Milwaukee, Evers said he didn’t believe that would be safe for voters in the city of about 596,886 people.


“Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem — I wish it were easy,” Evers said. “I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part — just as the rest of us are — to help keep people healthy and safe.”

This story was updated on April 6 at 4:17 p.m. with information about the GOP court filing to block Evers' executive order. It was originally posted on April 6 at 2:58 p.m.

What To Read Next
Get Local