Note: this piece was originally published in Reason, and was written by Checks & Balances member Jonathan Adler.
Today thousands of voters in Wisconsin braved long lines and potential exposure to Covid-19 to cast their votes in the state’s primary elections. At stake were hundreds of local races and ballot initiatives, the Democratic presidential primary, and a state Supreme Court seat.
Many folks thought the Wisconsin election should have postponed (like happened here in Ohio). Others thought special accommodation should be made to facilitate absentee or at-home voting of some sort. The state legislature refused to act, however, leaving the matter to the Governor and the courts. The state Democratic Party went to federal court to force election administration changes, and the Governor sought to change the election date unilaterally. In the end, both efforts were rejected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, respectively. The former concluded the Governor exceeded his authority under state law, and the latter concluded a federal district court improperly extended the deadline for absentee voting. Both decision divided along ideological lines.