Election 9 (copy)

Voting lines moved swiftly at the Oregon Town Hall on Nov. 8, 2016. Social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean polling places in the April 7, 2020 election will look very different. 

The April 7 elections are still on as scheduled after several hours of uncertainty Monday, April 6.

Gov. Tony Evers issued Executive Order 74 early in the afternoon, postponing the election until June 9, because of the threat of coronavirus spreading at polling sites. But by late afternoon, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had overturned the order on a 4-2 vote, stating that Evers lacked the authority to move the vote on his own.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Absentee voters will still have until 4 p.m. April 13 to get ballots to their municipal clerks if they are postmarked by 8 p.m. April 7.

That change came after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overruled a previous extension of the deadline by a federal judge. That extension would have allowed state clerks to accept ballots postmarked or returned at any time up to 4 p.m. on April 13.

City clerk Peggy Haag told the Observer on Monday afternoon, that the Wisconsin Elections Commission had asked her office to prepare as though there would be an election the next day.

In the weeks prior to the election, most states with upcoming primaries postponed their elections. Fears about COVID-19 caused thousands of poll workers to cancel their scheduled shifts.

Many of those poll workers, who volunteer to do tasks such as checking voter registration on Election Day, are older than 65, putting them in the high-risk category for severe infection from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Because of the shortage of poll workers, which in many areas across the state reached a critical level – some polling places have been consolidated. Oregon has three polling places. Voters can find their polling place at myvote.wi.gov.

On a press call with the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Monday, administrator Meagan Wolfe said voters would encounter some changes if they vote in person Tuesday. Measures taken will vary somewhat from polling site to polling site, but some might include tape indicating where people should stand for proper social distancing, hand sanitizing and new procedures for checking photo IDs.

“You’ll see social distancing built in at every step of the process,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said voters should be prepared to follow the instructions of poll workers when they arrive at the sites.

They might also see members of the Wisconsin National Guard at the polling sites filling in for Election Day volunteers who canceled. However, Wolfe said, the Guard members will be in plain clothes and will serve in the communities they are from.

No results will be released until April 13. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has said voters have requested a record high number of absentee ballots -- more than 1 million statewide a week before the election, and the extension on results is meant to facilitate accurate counting. .

Voters planning on voting April 7 should check their registration at myvote.wi.gov.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at renee.hickman@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman