MADISON, WI—Today the United States Supreme Court denied an emergency application to vacate a stay issued by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in litigation aimed at protecting Wisconsinites’ right to vote during the pandemic. The District Court’s order in the case would have extended the absentee ballot receipt deadline and allowed Wisconsinites from anywhere in the state to fill potential poll worker shortages amid the pandemic, but the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the Seventh Circuit’s decision to keep that relief from going into effect. The decision can be found here.
“Today’s decision simply fails to grapple with the undeniable impact of COVID-19 on the ability of Wisconsin citizens to exercise their right to vote,” said Farbod Faraji, counsel at Protect Democracy. “It is truly unfortunate that the Court will not implement even the most common-sense voter protection measures in the midst of a global pandemic.”
“The approach adopted by the Seventh Circuit, and left in place by the Supreme Court, suggests that courts in this part of the country have virtually no ability to protect voting rights if a problem arises within months of election day. That cannot possibly be the law, and we’re deeply disappointed that the courts have refused even to address the merits of Judge Conley’s tailored, fact-based order to prevent disenfranchisement,” said Jeff Mandell and Doug Poland, lawyers at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP in Madison.
In light of this ruling, it is essential that all parties and the press remind voters who are voting absentee to return their ballots to a dropbox or by mail as soon as possible so that their municipal clerk RECEIVES the absentee ballot no later than 8:00 pm CT on November 3rd (Election Day).
Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.