• Wisconsin Gov. Evers issued executive order to cancel Tuesday's polling
  • Republicans are likely to issue a legal challenge to the order
  • Republicans have resisted postpoing voting over vacancy concerns

With less than 24 hours left before in-person polling was set to begin, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, D, ordered voting to be postponed until June 9. The decision comes after Democrats in the state pushed hard to have physical voting banned out of caution over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Evers and Wisconsin Democrats, however, are likely to see continued resistance from state Republicans manifest in a legal challenge.

The closing of polls came in the form of an executive order from Evers. In addition to shuttering polling locations on Tuesday, state lawmakers will be called back into session to determine whether or not to schedule a new date for voting.

For weeks, Republicans in the state have adamantly resisted calls from their Democrat peers to call off in-person voting and shift toward voting wholly by mail. While it is possible this could have been organized with some advance planning, such a switch can’t be accomplished now at such short notice.

Now the question is whether or not Evers has the authority to postpone Tuesday’s voting. Speaking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he said he was bracing for a possible legal challenge in court.

Even still, Evers stands by his order. He said that people in Wisconsin are “scared” about the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m standing up for them. I’m standing up for those people who are afraid and that’s why I’m doing this,” Evers said.

Wisconsin voters were originally set to cast their ballots not only in both party’s presidential primaries but on a crime measure as well as candidates for a variety of local offices. Republicans have argued that its important to hold the vote as planned in order to avoid office vacancies after April.

Previously, U.S. District Judge William Conley had been petitioned by Democrats to order polling be delayed, but last week said that he could make no such order. Per Wisconsin law, Conley said, the governor and the legislature must agree to such changes. Conley, however, admitted that he believed it was unwise to permit in-person voting.

With Evers having bypassed lawmakers with his executive order, there is a very good chance he will be challenged. While the issue may go before Conley – which would likely be good news for Evers and Democrats – it may go to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the latter case, it’s likely a ruling will side against Evers, as Republicans hold a majority of justices on the bench.

People vote at a polling place at the Canterbury Town Hall polling station in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters