If you live in Milwaukee, you can now cast your ballot for the Nov. 6 midterm elections. The city opened three locations for early voting on Monday: Midtown Center, Ziedler Municipal Building and the Mitchell Street Library. Additional sites are set to open in mid-October.
Polls are open at the locations five days a week during regular business hours. Weekend voting begins Saturday, Oct. 27.
City leaders were on hand Monday, urging people to avoid the lines on Election Day.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett kicked off the first day of early voting with a news conference at the Midtown Center polling place on Milwaukee’s north side. He reminded voters that a few years ago, there was only one place Milwaukee residents could vote early. That was based on rules the Republican-controlled Legislature had put into place, allowing just one site per municipality.
“You’ll recall several elections ago, that there were literally lines that were around the block that required people to wait for several hours to vote. That all occurred because there’s a provision in state law that says regardless of the size of the municipality, each community could only have one location for early absentee voting,” Barrett says.
A federal judge overturned the restrictions in 2016, prior to the presidential election. The case is pending appeal. Milwaukee Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht says interest in early voting has been growing exponentially. For instance, he says in the 2000 presidential election, 5,000 people voted early in Milwaukee. This fall, the city is expecting 75,000 people to cast early ballots. Albrecht says he expects a surge in the days leading up to Election Day, Nov. 6.
“We usually see kind of a trickle, in effect very slow the first couple days, even the first couple of weeks. We want to make it available to people for example, if they’re traveling. But where we will really see the numbers is in the weeks leading up to the election,” Albrecht says.
One person who decided to cast ballots on the first day Monday was Byron Marshall. He says he always votes early and enjoys the convenience.
“I early voted because I wanted to skip the lines. I prefer the beautiful weather today and I don’t want to run into that cold Wisconsin weather in November,” Marshall says.