Looking to accommodate the demand for absentee voting, the deadline to register to vote online in Wisconsin has been extended to March 31.
The deadline extension makes sense given the uncertainty that is happening across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the ruling almost didn’t happen, reports The Wisconsin State Journal.
The order from Judge William Conley grants a request from Democrats to extend the deadline as demand for absentee voting surges due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but previously, Conley had denied previous requests to extend the deadline, the outlet reports.
There were arguments from some state leaders across the aisle that
extending deadlines just weeks before the election would create voter confusion.
“It is apparent that some accommodation is necessary to preserve citizens’ right to vote amidst this unprecedented public health crisis,” Conley wrote in his filing.
The situation continues to evolve as officials scramble to meet the demand of absentee ballots which at around 348,706, easily surpasses the absentee figure from the last presidential primary and Supreme Court election in 2016, when 249,503 absentee ballots were issued.
The mayors of Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah have called on the state to delay the April 7 election and conduct an all mail-in election due to concerns over the new coronavirus.
But the city of Madison has begun offering curbside voting for high-risk populations to encourage voting absentee.
Read more about the race to secure a way for Wisconsinites to vote here.
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