Wisconsin Primary to Proceed Tuesday; Timing of Results Uncertain

April 7, 2020

After several days of back-and-forth involving all three branches of government, Wisconsin's presidential primary will proceed Tuesday. However, per a court ruling currently in effect, no results are expected until 5:00 PM ET next Monday, April 13.  Should that change, and results are reported after the 9:00 PM ET poll closing time Tuesday, you'll be able to see those numbers on this page.  We're also following a general election on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Democratic Primary

Joe Biden has opened up a 300 delegate advantage on Bernie Sanders.  That lead is expected to grow once the state's 84 pledged delegates are allocated. Polling has been almost non-existent in recent weeks, but an April 1 release by the well-regarded Marquette Law School showed Biden leading 62% to 34%. 


Republican Primary

On the Republican side, Donald Trump is unopposed on the ballot. He has already surpassed the 1,276 delegates needed to win renomination.

For those wondering, here's some background information on the Uninstructed Delegate option available in Wisconsin.  Instead of choosing a candidate on the ballot (or writing someone in), a voter is handing the decision off to delegates to make that decision for them at the party's national convention.  Any delegates allocated this way would be effectively unpledged. In 2016, the Uninstructed Delegate received less than 0.3% of the vote in either party's primary, so it is not likely to have any real-world ramifications beyond appearing on the ballot.

Wisconsin Supreme Court (General Election)

Incumbent Daniel Kelly and challenger Jill Karofsky are running for a ten-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Kelly was appointed in 2016 by former Gov. Scott Walker to complete the term of retiring Justice David Prosser.

The race is nonpartisan, but Kelly is a conservative and Karofsky - a circuit court judge - is running as a progressive. Per Ballotpedia: "The election will determine the size of the court's conservative majority. A win for Karofsky would reduce the conservative majority to 4-3, meaning that the next regularly scheduled election in 2023 would decide control of the court. A Kelly win would preserve the court's 5-2 conservative majority. Assuming no justices leave the bench before their terms expire, a Kelly win would prevent a liberal majority from forming on the court until 2026 at the earliest."  

This election is likely at the heart of why Republicans immediately challenged the executive order issued Monday by Gov. Tony Evers suspending in-person voting until June 9.  A lower turnout election, which will almost certainly be the case given the coronavirus and confusion about the timing of the election, is expected to help the incumbent's prospects. For his part, Evers didn't help matters by waiting until the last minute to try and move the primary. 

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