Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Senate Majority Leader and Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, Speaker of the Assembly, take questions by speakerphone from reporters about the coronavirus outbreak, the "Safer at Home" order from Gov. Evers, and the concern about the upcoming April 7 election. (Courtesy: WisconsinEye)
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Senate Majority Leader and Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, Speaker of the Assembly, take questions by speakerphone from reporters about the coronavirus outbreak, the "Safer at Home" order from Gov. Evers, and the concern about the upcoming April 7 election. (Courtesy: WisconsinEye)

Speaker Robin Vos, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald talk up working together with Evers

The state’s top two Republican leaders, in a rare show of bipartisan agreement, threw their support behind Gov. Tony Evers Wednesday, echoing the governor’s insistence that the April 7 election be held as scheduled.

“I want to give credit to Governor Evers. I agree with his decision to say we are going to hold this election,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, during a joint press call with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

Fitzgerald agreed, saying the idea to keep the April 7 election day is “certainly where I have been.” 

He said more than 500,000 absentee ballots have been mailed out statewide with more than 100,000 already returned to clerks’ offices, adding “it’s too late to turn back now.”

Vos and Fitzgerald fielded numerous election-day related questions due to the “safer at home” order issued by Evers that took effect Wednesday morning and a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the city of Green Bay in federal court seeking to cancel the April 7 election and instead mail ballots to all registered voters. Voter registration would be extended through May 1, under the request, and city clerks would have until June 2 to count the ballots and finalize election results. 

The health of both poll workers and those voting in person have been issues of concerns, given the ongoing spread of the deadly coronavirus. As of Wednesday afternoon, 585 have tested positive and six people have died in the state, according to the state Department of Health Services. 

Vos said he is encouraged by the creativity of clerks. In some places, drive-up voting, others by appointment. In Burlington, voting will take place at the police department behind plexiglass. 

“People have a right to cast their ballot because we live in a republic. You have to have elections,” Vos said. “If a politician can cancel an election on a whim no matter how serious the problem is, I think that undermines the faith and basic tenets of our democracy.”
Voters have until April 2 to request an absentee ballot at  My Vote Wisconsin until April 2. The ballots must be returned by April 7.