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Judge refuses to postpone Wisconsin election, extends absentee voting

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MADISON (WKOW) - A federal judge ruled against postponing Wisconsin's April 7 Spring General Election, but did extend the absentee voting deadline.

U.S. District Judge William Conley issued the ruling Thursday.

"As much as the court would prefer that the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor consider the public health ahead of any political considerations, that does not appear in the cards," Conely wrote in his ruling.

The judge said courts should not delay the election because that power is in the hands of the governor and state Legislature.

However, the judge did extend the absentee voting deadline to 4 p.m. April 13. All ballots must be received by local election officials by that time.

Voters will be able to request their absentee ballots until tomorrow, Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m.

Several other states have postponed early April primaries to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The April 7 election includes the Democratic presidential primary as well as many local races.

Poll workers, many of whom are in age groups most susceptible to severe strains of the virus, are in short supply. Wisconsin has a shortage of some 7,000 election clerks. The Wisconsin National Guard will be brought in to help staff polling places.

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