Apr 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin won't be declaring a winner tonight

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line outside of a polling place. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9pm ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13 due to a back-and-forth on absentee voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to delay the state's election in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in polling places. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his order Monday and said the election must be held on Tuesday as originally scheduled.

  • This forced voters to choose between social distancing and going to the polls.
  • U.S. District Judge William Conley last week attempted to give voters an alternative by extending the absentee voting deadline and final vote counts until April 13. But the Wisconsin Supreme Court also overturned that ruling and said absentee ballots must be submitted by the original deadline of April 7.

Between the lines: Even though the deadline was not ultimately extended, the Wisconsin Election Commission says the provision to delay final vote counts until April 13 still stands.

  • Poll worker shortages led to hours-long waits for voters. Milwaukee voters, in particular, faced a decrease in precincts from 180 to just five after hordes of polling officials declined to participate.
  • Bernie Sanders tweeted Tuesday that his campaign would not partake in traditional GOTV efforts, stating, "Holding [the Wisconsin primary] election amid the coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, disregards the guidance of public health experts, and may very well prove deadly."

Between the lines: While Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are the national focus of the primary ballot, local elections drove turnout among Wisconsin voters.

  • President Trump specifically endorsed incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly in his bid for re-election.
  • Trump tweeted Tuesday morning: "Wisconsin, get out and vote NOW for Justice Daniel Kelly. Protect your 2nd Amendment!"
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