Mayors call for delay, changes to April election

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A bipartisan trio of northeastern Wisconsin mayors is calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the Legislature to delay the April 7 spring election and conduct it by mail-in ballots only due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The mayors of Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah made the request on Friday. Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna and Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert are Republicans and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich is a Democrat.

Genrich says moving ahead with the election without any changes is a "logistical train wreck and a public health travesty."

They say holding the in-person election is dangerous and irresponsible given the pandemic. They say Evers is sending mixed messages by ordering no gatherings of more than 10 people, but proceeding with the election where larger groups could congregate at polling sites.

The mayors also expressed concerns about older poll workers, election clerks and city staff being put at risk.

Evers and legislative leaders have said they plan to proceed with the election as scheduled.

"Ensuring the health and safety of Wisconsinites is our top priority, but the governor has said repeatedly that our democracy must continue," said Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff. "He has been urging folks to vote by absentee ballot and believes that process should be as simple and accessible as possible."