This article has been updated.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled, 4-2, that Tuesday's in-person election must go on.
The court decision that came down late Monday afternoon overrules an executive order by Gov. Tony Evers, issued earlier in the day, that would have suspended Wisconsin's April 7 election, moving in-person voting to June 9.
The governor's executive order also directed the state Legislature to meet in special session on Tuesday to address the election date. Under the Supreme Court's ruling, that special session may still happen.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), had said in a release earlier Monday they planned to “immediately challenging" the governor's order in the Supreme Court, calling it "clearly an unconstitutional overreach."
“The clerks of this state should stand ready to proceed with the election," Vos and Fitzgerald's release said earlier in the day. "This is another last-minute flip-flop from the governor on the April 7th election. The governor himself has repeatedly acknowledged he can’t move the election. Just last week a federal judge said he did not have the power to cancel the election and Governor Evers doesn’t either. Governor Evers can’t unilaterally run the state.”
In a subsequent release later Monday afternoon, Vos and Fitzgerald said, “we agree with the state Supreme Court’s ruling that affirms the separation of powers spelled out in our Constitution. The state’s highest court has spoken: the governor can’t unilaterally move the date of the election."
“We are proud that Wisconsinites have come together to meet the challenges that this pandemic has created. The safety and health of our citizens have always been our highest concern; that’s why we advocated for everyone to vote absentee. Wisconsin has responded in droves. Over a million ballots have been requested for tomorrow’s election. We continue to believe that citizens should be able to exercise their right to vote at the polls on Election Day, should they choose to do so."
“We want to thank the hardworking clerks around the state who have been working around the clock to ensure a safe and fair election. We also appreciate the assistance of the National Guard members who have been activated to play an important support role."
“This election will proceed as planned.”
In a release Monday night, Ever said the Supreme Court ruling "allows the April 7 election to proceed against the advice of public health experts and with extreme risk to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
“There are few things we hold more sacred and that are more American than the right to vote. People have bled, fought, and died for the right to vote in this country. But tomorrow in Wisconsin, thousands will wake up and have to choose between exercising their right to vote and staying healthy and safe. In this time of historic crisis, it is a shame that two branches of government in this state chose to pass the buck instead of taking responsibility for the health and safety of the people we were elected to serve," Ever said.
In a release earlier Monday, Evers had said, that "frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem — I wish it were easy. 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. But as municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe.”
Absentee ballot ruling
In a related decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that absentee ballots must be delivered in person to polling places in Wisconsin on Tuesday, or if mailed in must be postmarked by Tuesday.