Last month, Sean Duffy resigned as the Congressman for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, leaving a vacancy in the seat. In situations like this, the Governor is required to call special elections to fill the seat, though he has some discretion as to when the elections are held. Since Congressman Duffy’s resignation, I’ve been troubled by the Governor’s choices for the dates of these elections.
Initially, the Governor ordered dates that included a primary election to be held on December 30th, the day before New Year’s Eve and one of the most popular travel times for Wisconsinites. Local officials and voters would have needed to set aside this inconvenient date to accommodate the Governor’s schedule. While I was disappointed that Governor Evers chose this date for a primary, the United States Department of Justice soon contacted his office and informed him that the initial dates he had chosen for the special election were in violation of federal law. The Governor eventually complied with the Department of Justice and chose new dates.
Unfortunately, I’m again disappointed by the Governor’s timetable for this special election. The election could have been scheduled for April 7th, the same day as the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Democratic presidential primary elections that are already taking place that day. Instead, Governor Evers has created an unnecessary additional election date on May 12th for the special election, putting taxpayers on the hook to pay for another election, and requiring voters to take additional time out of their days to vote. We shouldn’t be making it harder for Wisconsinites to vote; we should be making it easier!
What’s more disturbing are the political reasons that could be motivating Governor Evers to implement this inconvenient and costly voting schedule. Because the Wisconsin Supreme Court election coincides with the Democratic presidential primary, high Democrat voter turnout is expected for April 7th. By keeping the 7th Congressional District special election off that ballot, it seems that Governor Evers is trying to avoid higher Republican voter turnout that day in an attempt to prop up any liberal Supreme Court candidate.
While I have not yet spoken to Governor Evers about his rationale for the May 12th special election date, I will be writing to him in the coming days to ask why this election could not have been scheduled on April 7th. Maybe he will provide strong justification for choosing a date that costs taxpayers additional time and money; or maybe he is just playing politics with election days.