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Concerns About Mail-In Voting Motivates Many To Vote Early And In Person

Angelina Mosher Salazar
Washington Park Library is one of 16 voting sites throughout the city of Milwaukee. Early voting ends on Sunday, Nov. 1.

Early voting began Tuesday as COVID-19 cases hit record-breaking levels in Wisconsin.

In Milwaukee, people began forming lines outside of voting booths in the pre-dawn hours, ready to cast their ballot in person. According to Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, there were lines at each of the 13 early voting sites that were open Tuesday.

Spaced 6 feet apart, many people waited for up to an hour. But Sarah Burrell, who voted at Washington Park Library, said she was fine waiting if it means her vote will count.

"You have better chance of getting your vote counted early voting. When it comes in at the last minute, there is no telling what we might end up with," said Burrell.

Many at the polls expressed concerns that their ballot would not be counted if they voted by mail. Terry Wright was worried there would be a pile-up of ballots at the post office after learning the agency removed mail-sorting equipment.

"My confidence in the mail-in system right now is not all that great," says Wright.

If you do vote early — whether in person, by dropping off your ballot in one of the collection boxes, or purely by mail — Mary Jo McDonald, the chief inspector at the Washington Park library site, says you can track your ballot.

"By going to the my vote site, myvote.wi.gov, there's a box that says track my ballot. And if you track your ballot, it'll say if that has been received downtown, to City Hall," she says.

Early voting will continue for 10 more days in Wisconsin. All ballots cast during early voting will be tallied on Election Day.

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.
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