Coronavirus daily update: April 3, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 3, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. The Supreme Court of the United States postponed the oral arguments scheduled for its April sitting. The court was scheduled to hear eight cases from April 20 to April 29.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Seventeen states and one territory postponed state-level elections. Another five states postponed or authorized postponements of municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  2. Eight states modified candidate filing requirements.
  3. Eighteen states implemented changes to their absentee voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 10 states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin– Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet in a special session on April 4, 2020, to discuss possible changes to the April 7, 2020, election. Evers said the legislature should consider legislation instituting an all-mail election, in which every voter would receive a ballot by May 19 to be returned by May 26.
  2. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said the Republican caucus would reject Evers’ request. Vos called Evers’ proposal logistically impossible and described it as a “statewide invitation for voter fraud.”
  3. Evers’ announcement followed an order from Judge William M. Conley on April 2 extending absentee voting deadlines ahead of Tuesday’s election. Today, Conley ordered officials to withhold the results of the April 7 election until absentee balloting is complete on April 13. The order came at the request of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
  4. Kentucky – Kentucky’s legislature passed a bill that would allow the secretary of state and governor to jointly change the “manner” in which elections are held during a state of emergency.  Under the current law, only time and place may be altered.
  5. Idaho – Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced that absentee ballots applications will be sent to all registered voters ahead of the state’s May 19 primaries.
  6. South Dakota – Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed new legislation allowing local governments to delay any elections scheduled between April 14 to May 26 to any Tuesday in June.  Omitted from the new law are the state’s upcoming June 2 presidential and downballot primaries.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 17 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
  3. At least four lawsuits were filed seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.
Details:
  1. Colorado – On April 2, Denver District Court Judge Martin Egelhoff granted an emergency stay to allow proponents of the 22-Week Abortion Ban Initiative—Due Date Too Late—to collect additional signatures during a cure period of 15 days after the state’s emergency stay-at-home order expires.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 309 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Fifty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 17 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures suspended their sessions. Two of those (New York and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  2. Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. One state (Minnesota) partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Wisconsin – Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order calling the Wisconsin State Legislature to convene a special session at 4:00 PM on April 4, to discuss changes to the upcoming spring elections.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  1. Alabama– The Alabama Supreme Court extended their suspension of in-person proceedings and jury trials through April 30.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. Twelve states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. Twenty states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. Seventeen states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. One state prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. Kentucky– Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that 186 inmate sentences will be shortened and indicated this would be the first wave of early releases to help slow the spread of coronavirus. A second wave will involve 743 inmates. He stated that all inmates would be screened for symptoms of the disease before their release. Inmates must also have a residence to move into and quarantine for 14 days after their release.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 40 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 33 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued a shelter-in-place order effective from April 3 to April 13. Schools, which were already closed for the year, were not impacted by this order.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure. Eleven states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.
Details:
  1. Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered schools statewide to remain closed through April 30. Previously, her office issued a recommendation for schools to close that was scheduled to end April 13.
  2. Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that schools statewide would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Prior to this order, schools were scheduled to reopen April 13.
Travel restrictions
Overview to date:
  1. Fifteen governors or state agencies issued an executive order.
Details:
  1. Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an order requiring all people traveling to Kentucky to self-quarantine for two weeks. His previous order applied only to residents who recently traveled out of the state.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell (R)
State politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. State Rep. Becky Ruth (R-MO)
  2. State Rep. Mary Coleman (R-MO)
Local politicians who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Barry Grodenchik (D)
Local politicians who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  1. New York City council member Costa Constantinides (D)
Local politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. Jacksonville city council member Randy White (R)
Notable influencers who tested positive for coronavirus
  1. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin



About the author

Kelly Caldwell

Kelly Caldwell is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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