Nancy Pelosi Says Supreme Court Is Forcing People to Choose Between Voting and Being Sick in Wisconsin Primary

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has condemned the Supreme Court over its decision to block Wisconsin from allowing primary voters to send in absentee ballots past Tuesday, the state's primary voting day, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a 5-4 vote, conservative justices blocked a lower court order that would have allowed Wisconsin to extend absentee voting until April 13, giving residents more time to vote from home amid the pandemic.

The majority opinion from the Supreme Court was that "extending the date by which ballots may be cast by voters—not just received by the municipal clerks but cast by voters—for an additional six days after the scheduled election day fundamentally alters the nature of the election."

As a result, the majority opinion said justices felt compelled to prevent the lower district court from pushing back the date.

"The court would prefer not to do so, but when a lower court intervenes and alters the election rules so close to the election date, our precedents indicate that this court, as appropriate, should correct that error," it said.

The Supreme Court's decision came just hours before the Wisconsin Supreme Court similarly shut down efforts from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to postpone Tuesday's vote until July 9 and allow mail and absentee ballots to be sent in before then.

Evers had issued an executive order to postpone the primary vote over fears that it would force residents to put their lives in danger by leaving the house to vote at a time when Americans are being advised to stay home and practice social distancing.

Following the two rulings, ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and will be accepted until April 13.

House Speaker (D-CA) talks to reporters at a news conference about legislation addressing the ongoing coronavirus outbreak March 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Speaking with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Pelosi condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for forcing voters to decide between exercising their rights and prioritizing their health.

"People should not have to decide whether they can vote or be sick. That's just not a good choice for anyone in a democracy," Pelosi said.

"And you would think that the Supreme Court of the United States would not overturn a court decision which gave the voters extra time to do a vote by mail...a few more days to get their vote-by-mail ballot in," she said. "So, you have the Supreme Court of the United States undermining our democracy. It's really shameful. Five to four, surprise, surprise."

However, Pelosi said: "We don't agonize, we organize. And we just have to get out the vote to make sure that they do not only risk people's lives to vote, but risk the outcome of the election which is an important one in Wisconsin now."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
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  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
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Medical advice

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Mask and glove usage

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  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.