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Washington County to intervene in Green Bay's federal lawsuit over election

Posted: 1:58 PM, Mar 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-26 15:01:23-04
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Washington County’s executive committee unanimously approved to intervene in Green Bay's federal lawsuit to delay the April 7 election.

In a news release from the county, County Board Chairman Don Kriefall said if the election is postponed, the entire county board would be vacant. Additionally, the news release says Washington County is transitioning from the county administrator to an elected county executive. The county executive position is on the April 7 ballot. After April 21, Washington County may be left without a valid county board and an operational leader.

"We need to ensure continuity of government and operations. The rules of the game were established by the legislature," said Kriefall. "Local governments have an obligation to run these elections."

Green Bay filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that local governments are finding it “functionally impossible” to administer the election and maintain social distancing under the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit also states that 90% of the city’s 278 poll workers are at least 60 years old, making them especially vulnerable to the virus. Only 54 of the 278 workers had agreed to work the election as of Friday, the lawsuit said.

The city wants a judge to cancel in-person voting, allow the city to send absentee ballots to all registered voters, extend the deadline for registering online or by mail to May 1 and give the city until June 2 to count ballots.

Washington County says it will join with the Wisconsin Counties Association in opposition to Green Bay's position.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.