Hey Milwaukee! The 2020 Partisan Primary Election is on Tuesday, August 11! Here’s a handy voting guide! If you’ve already voted absentee, congrats! If you plan on voting in person next Tuesday, here’s what you can expect!
(The following information was discussed during a Thursday media briefing by Claire Woodall-Vogg, Executive Director, Milwaukee Election Commission; George Christenson, County Clerk, Milwaukee County Election Commission; and Julietta Henry, Elections Director, Milwaukee County Election Commission.)
Claire Woodall-Vogg, Executive Director, Milwaukee Election Commission
“It will be your neighborhood voting experience. Your polling place will look familiar, but it’ll be set up a little bit differently than normal. You should expect to see Plexiglas barriers between yourself and election workers. All of our election workers will be wearing face masks and face shields. Some might be wearing gloves, but we’ll also have hand sanitizer available at every step of the way along your polling place and your voting experience. We also will have staff dedicated to disinfecting surfaces like the voting booths. Our voting booths will be spread out six feet apart. Hopefully if you are comfortable going to your local grocery store you’ll feel just as comfortable going to vote on Election Day.
“We have received an overwhelming amount of community response and support this summer and have trained over 700 new election inspectors who we look forward to welcoming onto our election team next Tuesday. So when you go to your polling place you shouldn’t expect long lines. But you should be patient with your poll workers because a lot of them will be new.
“We have sent out over 75,000 absentee ballots by mail, and have received close to 30,000 absentee ballots back for this election. Normally in a partisan primary we would send about 7,500 absentee ballots out, so the demand is definitely still out there. If you have received your absentee ballot but you haven’t returned it to us yet, I encourage all voters to use a dropbox or to use an in-person absentee voting location. At this point it’s a little risky to stick it back in the mail. We have to receive all ballots back by next Tuesday.”
George Christenson, County Clerk, Milwaukee County Election Commission
“We have been working closely with the State of Wisconsin and all municipalities within Milwaukee County to ensure that this election is as safe as we can make it be. We’ve distributed well over 100,000 PPE—personal protection equipment items—to each municipality (not each, but in total) to make sure that they have the supplies they need so that poll workers as well as voters are safe. We ask voters to please follow the instructions as you get there: wear your masks, follow social distancing practices. We’ve received notification from Governor Evers that the National Guard is available for use on Election Day. We’ve coordinated that with the 19 municipalities and we’ll continue to work with them to hopefully utilize those resources in the best way possible.
“On Election Night, Milwaukee County will receive the results from each municipality and we will have a space for the press and public to view it. However, we would encourage you not to come, and we would encourage you to follow it on a livestream. We will be livestreaming that via our Facebook page.”
Julietta Henry, Elections Director, Milwaukee County Election Commission
“Some of the precautions that people can expect when voting: There will be health alert signs at all of your polling locations. If you are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms, you can request curbside voting. There will be a number and information listed at every polling location. We are still encouraging you to take advantage of early voting. Early voting will still be in effect through Friday for municipalities, with the exception of the City of Milwaukee. You can vote up until Sunday the 9th. Go to our website for information with times included.
“As far as the number of people who can go inside of a polling location, because the polling locations vary in sizes throughout the county, each polling location will be at the discretion of the poll workers at that particular location, with guidance from the municipal clerk. Some voting locations have changed as a result of COVID-19, so please contact your municipal clerk’s office or go to myvote.wi.gov to find your polling location. There are still volunteers needed. You will need to contact your municipal clerk’s office to see if they need volunteers on Election Day to work the polls.
“As far as Milwaukee County residents requesting absentee ballots this year versus past years, we know on a statewide level this is an unprecedented election. We had over 867,699 requests made as of today throughout the state of Wisconsin, of which 158,080 requests were made in Milwaukee County. As of today, 68,980 ballots were returned. We’re requesting and encouraging you to return your ballot so your votes can be counted on Tuesday, August 11.
“When do people need their mail-in ballots sent in? Right away. At this point it’s probably too late to mail it in. So what you should do is contact your municipal clerk’s office for their hours. Most of the municipal clerks throughout the county have drop-off boxes in front of the city halls or village halls. So please take your ballot and drop it off at your village hall at your convenience.”