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'Have Your Voice Heard': Wisconsin Voters Head To The Polls

Teran Powell
People vote at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School on Tuesday.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. CT

After shattering early voting records, Wisconsin residents are getting a final chance to cast ballots in schools, libraries and community buildings. The last opportunity to vote comes as coronavirus cases surge and political tensions remain high in the battleground state.

Both sides in the presidential race are closely watching absentee and in-person ballots for any irregularities.

Because there are so many early ballots – that couldn’t be counted prior to Tuesday – results aren’t expected until early Wednesday.

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City of Milwaukee and state officials are reporting no major problems at the polls. There are some slow lines, but also many very quiet polling places.

Credit Christine Lamitina
People wait in line to vote on Tuesday afternoon in West Allis.

In fact, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says many voting sites have had no lines throughout the day after an initial flurry when polls opened at 7 a.m.  

Barrett says it’s been a “very, very manageable” day so far. And that includes at the central count facility downtown, where workers are processing the tens of thousands of ballots that were cast early, through in-person early or absentee voting.

Barrett urged people who haven’t yet voted to get out and "have your voice heard in our democracy."

Credit Teran Powell
Voters could grab free snacks at Washington Park Library on Tuesday.

Polls are open until 8 p.m. If you’re voting absentee in Milwaukee and you plan to drop it off in one of the locked drop boxes, you must get it in the box by 7:30 p.m. Other cities may have earlier deadlines.

Voters have a number of reasons for casting ballots in the presidential race.

Beth in Wauwatosa is for personal freedom and worries that the middle class is being squeezed. She also says she’s suspicious about organizations that have Marxist and socialist roots.

"People who call themselves Democrats, what they want to do is actually make government even more powerful and give them even more ability to tell you how to live your life and control you, and that’s what it really comes down to," she says.

Meanwhile, Lori Woods, who voted at Milwaukee Excellence Charter, says she’s a Democrat and cast her ballot for Joe Biden.

Here’s her hope today: "That he wins and he really, really listens to the American people and take care of this major issue which is the coronavirus and that’s my concern, is so many people are dying of this and he has to address that and stay on top of that."

Other voters are also citing the coronavirus as a major concern. On Tuesday, Wisconsin officials reported more than 5,700 new coronavirus cases and 52 more deaths from COVID-19. Hospitalizations rose by 247 in the state, which for weeks has ranked as one of the nation’s hot spots for the virus.

Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
Getty Images
Election officials check in voters at a polling place located in the Town of Beloit fire station on Nov. 3 near Beloit.

In addition to voting in the race for president, Wisconsin residents will elect the state’s eight House members, half the state senators, and all of the state representatives.

Matt Nink from Wauwatosa says each of the contests in his district is of interest to him.

"I would say all the races, the state level races for state Assembly, Sara Rodriguez and Rob Hutton as well as the presidential race, but yeah we really vote, we try to vote even in all the — even the crazy April special elections, all the time we can," he says.

Nink says health care, climate change and racial justice are among the top issues on his mind.

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