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Voting groups, unions sue to force in-person voting delay

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A coalition of voting rights groups and labor unions have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to postpone in-person voting for Wisconsin’s spring election in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The coalition, which includes the League of Women Voters, Souls to the Polls, the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union, filed the suit Thursday night in Madison. The lawsuit demands a judge postpone in-person voting for the April 7 election at least until Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order expires. The order is scheduled to expire April 24 but Evers could extend it.

The lawsuit also seeks to lift proof-of-residency requirements for registrations and photo ID requirements for voters, extend the deadline for online registration to May 1 — the current deadline is Monday — allow clerks to count absentee ballots through June 2 and allow clerks to mail ballots to all registered voters.

The lawsuit is the fourth federal action various groups have filed over the last week seeking to ease voting regulations, postpone the election or ban in-person voting to protect voters and poll workers from the virus.

Evers has refused to order any changes to election procedure. Election protocols are part of state law and Evers’ lacks the ability to unilaterally alter statutes even during emergencies, according to the Legislature’s attorneys.

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