Nov. 24, 2020
As the Spring Election approached, the Evers Administration was bombarded with hysterical messages begging him to delay the election by any means necessary – including violent force.
“I don’t know if the governor can shut down the state via ‘State of Emergency’ or some form of martial law. If he can, he should,” Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range) texted Maggie Gau, Evers’ Chief of Staff, on Apr. 6th.
“People are pissed and scared about the election tomorrow,” he wrote. “It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.”
Milroy didn’t realize it at the time, but the Evers Administration had just issued an executive order to delay the election for two months. Gau related this to Milroy, seemingly condoning his extreme suggestion.
“We used our state of emergency powers to shut it down today and they were clear we can’t waive statute,” she replied. “I wish there was more we could do, but there’s not.”
Those text messages were included in response to an open records request from the MacIver News Service filed in April. It was finally fulfilled after six months.
Gov. Evers first declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 on Mar. 12th, with the spring election less than 4 weeks away. He initially resisted calls to change the election date because it would have created a constitutional crisis.
There were thousands of local offices on the ballot throughout the state. According to the state constitution, the current terms could not be extended under any circumstances. If the election was delayed, those officials would have to vacate their positions – creating a power vacuum in the middle of statewide emergency.
However, many of Evers’ colleagues on the left couldn’t care less about the constitution at that point.
“This is obscene.” Ann Jacobs, Wisconsin Election Commission Chair, wrote.
It was one of two text messages she sent stating, “Please delay the election. People will die.”
“You need to talk the governor into postponing the election. If not, I fear his term will be over almost before it starts,” Tom Boswell, a community organizer, told Gau.
“If you do nothing about the election, why should we take your safe at home order seriously!!!! It completely defeats the purpose of the order,” Jessica Potter Reilly, Village Administrator for Elkhart Lake emailed.
Evers finally gave in to this pressure just one day before the polls were scheduled to open. Ignoring the constitution, he cancelled the election and declared the effected officials would continue to serve through June. The courts immediately overruled his order, and the election went on as originally planned.
For all the hysterical messages Evers received in the runup to the election, no one came close to Milroy’s reckless demand for the governor to declare martial law.
Milroy’s office did not respond to a request for clarification. However, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) told MacIver News that Milroy’s comments were shocking.
“He sounds like a paranoid, hysterical nut,” Rep. Joe Sanfelippo said to MNS. “Martial Law declared against innocent citizens over a virus?”
Ironically, despite Milroy’s willingness to unleash the police and military on Wisconsin’s law-abiding public, Sanfelippo pointed out “he voted against every one of my tougher on crime bills that would hold violent repeat offenders accountable for their crimes.”
Milroy’s text message indicates his belief “government’s primary responsibility is to protect citizens. This situation is a clear and present danger to all citizens that calls for bold action.”
Milroy was wrong. The election went on, and it apparently had no noticeable impact on COVID cases in Wisconsin afterwards. And yet, that he shows no remorse for his willingness to resort to such violent extremes is the true cause for alarm.