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Governor Tony Evers on Iowa caucus: It’s time for a change

Gov. Tony Evers

MADISON — Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday in the wake of a delay in reporting of Iowa caucus results that the current system suppresses the vote and it’s time to consider having another state kick off the presidential election year.

The comments from Evers, given in reaction to a reporter’s question about the problems in neighboring Iowa, were his sharpest public criticisms of the process to date. Evers took office last year after defeating 2016 Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker. He joins a chorus of critics who argue that the caucuses — party meetings that can be chaotic, crowded and messy — are antiquated and exclusionary.

“Why don’t we just go in the booth and vote?” Evers said. “To me, that makes sense. I’ve always viewed what happens in Iowa, and last night proved it, there’s a bit of a voter suppression going on.”

The delay in reporting the results was blamed on a technical issue with a mobile app. Evers has not endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate.

“I’m just hoping that the Democratic Party looks at this in a serious way,” Evers said of the Iowa caucus. “It’s about the goof up that happened but more importantly, is this a good way of giving people a chance to vote? You’re cutting out a whole bunch of the people that would vote if they could just go and vote.”

Iowa has long sought to protect its prized status as the first contest in presidential primaries and the nation’s first state to vet candidates. When asked if he thought Iowa should continue to be first, Evers said, “I think we should we should look at something different.”

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