Good news for everyone who enjoys exercising their right to vote without endangering their life and the lives of others: On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved the creation of the so-called SafeVote program, in which approximately 300,000 registered Milwaukee voters will be mailed an application for an absentee ballot. The program, authored by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, will go into effect in time for the fall 2020 General Election.

“The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has made congregating in groups a threat to public health, and we recognize that voting by mail must be seen as the best way to ensure the best possible participation in a vital election,” Dimitrijevic said in a press release.

“The spectacle of thousands of citizens gathering to vote on April 7, while in a way inspiring, was an unacceptable danger to their own well-being and that of others,” said the program’s primary co-sponsor, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, in a press release. “Affording residents the opportunity to vote by mail in an efficient and safe manner is the right way to go this fall.”

On Monday, health officials identified seven people “who appear to have contracted COVID-19 through activities related to the April 7 election.”

Here’s the full press release:

Common Council gives SafeVote legislation unanimous approval

Today the Common Council voted unanimously to create a SafeVote program under which all registered voters in the City of Milwaukee would receive an application for an absentee ballot along with a postage-paid return envelope in time for them to participate in the fall 2020 General Election.

The resolution, authored by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, directs the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission to create (by the end of May) the SafeVote program, which for the first time in city history would prompt the mailing of an absentee ballot application to all registered voters in the city.

Alderwoman Dimitrijevic said she greatly appreciates the full support of the entire Council on the legislation. “The right to vote is sacred in our democracy, and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues on SafeVote,” she said.

“The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has made congregating in groups a threat to public health, and we recognize that voting by mail must be seen as the best way to ensure the best possible participation in a vital election,” the alderwoman said.

The measure’s primary co-sponsor, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, said the scenes across Milwaukee on April 7 during the spring primary election must not be repeated in November.

“The spectacle of thousands of citizens gathering to vote on April 7, while in a way inspiring, was an unacceptable danger to their own well-being and that of others,” Alderman Rainey said.

“Affording residents the opportunity to vote by mail in an efficient and safe manner is the right way to go this fall,” he said.

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Matt Wild
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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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