MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway continues to urge Wisconsin officials to postpone in-person voting during the state's primary election, following a federal judge's ruling Thursday to not postpone but instead to extend the absentee ballot deadline.
"[The extended absentee deadline] will allow us to count hundreds if not thousands of ballots that were held up in the mail, and helps people who are staying home alone to be able to vote safely. I encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot by 5:00 pm tomorrow... While these changes help, I’ll continue to urge the State health officials to postpone the in-person election to a date when the Safer at Home order is no longer in effect," the mayor said in a release Thursday evening.
The US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled earlier Thursday that requests for absentee ballots can now be made through 5 p.m. on April 3, and county clerks will be required to tally all ballots that arrive before 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13 - both measures to give voters more time to vote amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, U.S. District Judge William Conley declined to postponed the in-person election in Wisconsin.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway said in the release that the city is taking several steps to keep voting sanitary, with in-person voting still scheduled for April 7 (copied from release):
- At each of the City’s 66 polling locations, curbside registration and voting will be possible and is encouraged for voters with underlying health conditions, recent symptoms of a cold or illness, or exposure to somebody with symptoms of a cold or illness. Curbside voters will not need to sign poll books, and the team of poll workers interacting with the voter will wear plastic face shields.
- Inside polling locations, large Plexiglas shields will be placed between poll workers and voters. Voters will show their IDs through the shields, and poll books will be slid under the shield for signatures. Voters are encouraged to bring their own blue or black ballpoint pens.
- Poll workers will also be asked a series of questions to determine whether they can work on Election Day. All poll workers will have access to gloves, and each polling place will have disinfectant spray, wipes, and hand sanitizer. Painters tape will be used on the floor to mark 6’ distances between voters, and all poll workers will be stationed at least 6’ apart from one another.
The mayor further called for more volunteers to work at polling stations, after a number of poll workers decided not to show because of the coronavirus.