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Early Voters in Milwaukee Voice Opinions on Issues

Marti Mikkelson


There was a steady line at the Ziedler Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee on Monday, as early voting got underway for the April 5 election.

Voters will decide several races. They include for state Supreme Court, Milwaukee County executive and Milwaukee mayor.  Wisconsinites will also pick candidates in the state’s presidential primaries.

We stopped by the polling place to ask early voters what’s on their mind this election season.

Christopher Sewell works for the Milwaukee Sanitation department. He says he likes the convenience of early voting; all he had to do was run over to the Municipal Building during his lunch hour.

Sewell says while many people are hyped up about the presidential race, he’s convinced “all politics is local.” So he selected local candidates he believes will address the issues weighing on his mind.

“Mostly what my friends and I have been talking about is justice reform like with the prison system and just the discrimination that’s been going on with African-Americans being incarcerated for crimes, and our other peers don’t seem to be having the same consequences for the same crime,” Sewell says.

Local problems are also troubling early voter Darlene LaGrant.

“The housing environment, there are too many boarded up homes, too many foreclosed homes in this city that can be fixed up. People are homeless and there’s no need for it,” LaGrant says.

LaGrant says it’s been just as frustrating to watch the contentious presidential primary season unfold. There are significant issues she’d like many candidates to address.

“Where are the jobs for the young people? Those who are graduating college, where are they going to work?” LaGrant asks.

Thomas Suriano calls the antics the presidential candidates have been displaying, appalling.

“We can do better than this. The name calling, the character assassination and so on, I’m embarrassed,” Suriano says.

Suriano says he likes what he’s hearing from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on issues, including immigration and fair wages.  Jill Huennekens came to the downtown polling station wearing a t-shirt that reads: Hillary in 2016. She says women’s issues are among those on her mind.

“Everything from the economy to equal rights and equal pay for women, education and carrying on Obama’s programs,” Huennekens says.

Huennekens says she voted early because she’ll be busy on Election Day, helping people get to the polls. The Milwaukee Election Commission predicts 10-12,000 people will take advantage of early voting. That total would be a 300 percent increase over four years ago.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.