Wisconsin Election Fight Heralds a National Battle Over Virus-Era Voting

New York Times,  April 6, 2020

Wisconsin voters will face a choice between protecting their health and exercising their civic duty on Tuesday after state Republican leaders, backed up by a conservative majority on the state’s Supreme Court, rebuffed the Democratic governor’s attempt to postpone in-person voting in their presidential primary and local elections. The political and legal skirmishing throughout Monday was only the first round of an expected national fight over voting rights in the year of Covid-19. ...

And in a decision late Monday capping the election-eve chaos, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative-leaning majority dealt its own blow to Wisconsin Democrats. In a 5-4 vote, the majority ruled against their attempt to extend the deadline for absentee voting in Tuesday’s elections, saying such a change “fundamentally alters the nature of the election.” The court’s four liberal members dissented, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing that “the court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement.” ...

Indeed, for the better part of the last two decades, Republicans have sought to tighten voting restrictions — pushing stringent new voter identification requirements and sweeping voter roll purges that disproportionately affected people of color, the poor and the young. They have done so, they say, to curb in-person voter fraud, which, despite their claims to the contrary, is exceedingly rare.

By Astead W. Herndon and Jim Rutenberg

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