MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) – With just a few days until Wisconsin's spring election, Gov. Tony Evers is still trying to find a way to make voting easier as people stay home.

Friday afternoon the governor called a special session on the election, asking lawmakers to meet at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 4 to make changes to Tuesday's election amid the coronavirus pandemic. 



“I can't move this election or change it on my own,” Gov. Evers said during a press conference Friday. “My hands are tied.”

Gov. Evers is asking the legislature to consider the following:

  • To move to an all-mail election 
  • To send a ballot to every registered voter who has not already requested one by May 19
  • To extend the time for those ballots to be received until May 26

“This is a time for us to kind of set aside whatever disagreements we've had in the past,” Gov. Evers said. “What we're looking at going forward, we need to change the dialogue.”

This is the fourth time the governor has called a special session. Each one has been on a different issue, but Republican leaders have refused to meet every time. Gov. Evers is optimistic this time will be different.

“Certainly, we haven't experienced anything like this in my lifetime or in the legislative leaders,'” Gov. Evers said.

Remaining options for the governor may be limited if lawmakers choose to do nothing.

In Ohio, the health director closed polling locations just hours before the state's March 17 presidential primary due to the public health crisis.



Spectrum News 1 asked Gov. Evers if he would ask Wisconsin’s health secretary to do the same.

“I hesitate to compare Ohio to us,” Gov. Evers said. “They just had only a presidential primary. They're running a primary for the Democratic Party. We have, I think it's 6,000, general folks that serve at the local level, at the municipal level.”

Both the governor and Republican leaders who control the legislature have said they are worried about leaving those local offices vacant for an unknown time period since most local officials' terms will be up at the end of the month.

Still, the governor isn't giving up as voters and poll workers worry about their safety.

“We will continue to find ways to make sure Wisconsinites are safe and that's our bottom line,” Gov. Evers said.

When asked if he talked to Republican leaders in the legislature about the special session, Gov. Evers said he called them and left messages.



In a joint written statement Friday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said Gov. Evers “caves under political pressures from national liberal special interest groups” and that the election “should continue as planned on Tuesday.”