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Politics & Government

Milwaukee Mayor Urges Thousands Of Absentee Voters To Return Their Ballots

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Scott Olson/Getty Images
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Residents vote at a polling place in the Midtown neighborhood on October 20, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett gave a status report Monday on the number of city residents who voted early. He said more than 162,000 people cast early ballots, which amounts to about 50% of registered voters. Barrett said he’s pleased with those figures, but expressed concern about the number of ballots that were mailed to voters that hadn’t been received in the clerk’s office.

“We know that there are still a lot of people who need to vote. We still have about 20,000 absentee ballots that have not been returned, and it’s too late to put them in the mail," he said.

Barrett implored voters who still have their absentee ballots to return them to one of 15 drop boxes set up across the city by 7:30 p.m. tonight. He said 7:30 p.m. is likely the last time the drop boxes will be cleared so ballots can be taken to the city’s central counting facility.

Barrett predicted about 13,000 voters will return their ballots today, for a total of 175,000 people having voted absentee. More than 170 polling places are open today for people to vote in-person. Barrett addressed the possibility of voter intimidation at the polls in Milwaukee, something that’s been speculated in national media. He said the city will be monitoring for suspicious activity.

“I know our state Department of Justice, we’ve been in contact with them, we’ve been in contact with our city attorney’s office, so we will have a lot of mechanisms in place. We will not in any fashion tolerate intimidation, we do not allow guns at the polling places,” Barrett said.

Barrett assured people that voting during the coronavirus pandemic will be safe. He said plexiglass will separate poll workers from voters and plenty of hand sanitizer will be available. Polling stations will be wiped down after voters use them. Polls remain open until 8 p.m. tonight.

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