The governor of Wisconsin has issued an executive order to postpone the state’s embattled elections on Tuesday for at least two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, following mounting criticism over the upcoming in-person vote.
Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) delayed the presidential primary until 9 June, saying in a statement about the executive order: “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 neighbours, 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.”
He added: “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, and that’s why I signed this executive order today.”
While the governor initially wanted to go forward with the in-person vote, he worked in recent weeks to enact a mail-in election during the spring and even attempted to call in a special session of the state legislature. His efforts to delay the election have received strong opposition from Republican lawmakers and organisations, who vowed to sue the governor over the executive order.
Donald Trump weighed in on a national debate that had taken place in recent days amid increasing backlash over Wisconsin’s election going forward, claiming the Democratic governor delayed the vote after the president endorsed a Republican candidate.
“In Wisconsin, what happened is I, through social media — media put out a very strong endorsement of a Republican conservative judge who’s an excellent, brilliant judge. He’s a justice,” Mr Trump said during a press briefing on Friday. “And I hear what happened is his poll numbers went through the roof. And because of that, I think they delayed the election.”
“Why didn’t he do it before? He was doing right before the election,” he added about the governor’s efforts to delay the election in the days before the vote. “All of a sudden, an election which is taking place very soon gets delayed. Now, I just endorsed him today and it was a very strong endorsement. His polls — he’s gone very high up. And all of a sudden, the governor comes out — the Democrat governor, by the way — comes out and says, ‘Oh, we’re going to move this election.’ So, I don’t know.”