Clerk: Changing 2020 presidential primary date would be ‘chaos and Florida-like’

Republicans propose changes to early voting
Clerk: Changing 2020 presidential primary date would be ‘chaos and Florida-like’

Republican legislative leaders are proposing making changes to in-person absentee voting and changing the date of the 2020 presidential primary, according to legislation released Friday afternoon.

The proposal would limit early voting in Wisconsin to roughly two weeks prior to an election, cutting the time voters can cast absentee ballots in person by about a week.

Currently the 2020 presidential primary is scheduled to be held on the second Tuesday in March, but the proposal would move the primary to the first Tuesday in April.

Clerks around the state have said it would be a logistical nightmare to hold three elections within three months in 2020.

“It would be a chaos and Florida-like to add an election at that point, and so it’s very frustrating and the clerks across the state — Republican, Democratic alike — are dead set against this,” said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.

McDonell and almost 60 other clerks are urging the lawmakers not to change the election date because the timelines would overlap in between the three elections. He said he is also worried having so many elections so close together would confuse voters.because they would get multiple ballots at the same time.

“Not only is it a giant waste of taxpayer money — $7 million — it’s technically impossible for us. I don’t think the legislators understand how difficult adding an election in between April and February is,” McDonell said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said the move would help improve conservative Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly’s chances of keeping his seat.

Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos released a joint statement calling the lame-duck session:

“Wisconsin law, written by the legislature and signed into law by a governor, should not be erased by the potential political maneuvering of the executive branch. In order to find common ground, everyone must be at the table.”

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling called the Republican’s attempts to cling to power in the lame-duck session “ludicrous.”

“I agree with Gov.-elect Evers that we need to focus on improving health care, strengthening schools and fixing our roads. Republicans need to listen to voters and drop this partisan temper tantrum,” Shilling said.

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