COVID-19 pandemic on top of mind at Milwaukee voter registration drive as President Trump remains hospitalized

Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 06:25:13-04

MILWAUKEE — Saturday marks exactly one month until Election Day. It comes as President Donald Trump remains hospitalized with COVID-19; the pandemic becoming an even greater issue for voters, with those who have yet to register making sure they get on board.

At the site of the old Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee, there was a steady stream of cars pouring through all day, for a voter registration and food drive.

Kourtney Blevins recently discovered she was no longer registered after checking her status online, so when she heard about an event where she could fill out the form in person, she made sure to be there.

“I’m a person that has to see it, like seeing being registered, her showing me the tablet, ‘okay, now you’re registered, this is where you can check,’” Blevins said.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, “When We All Vote,” hosted the drive with other local groups.

On top of mind was a specific issue facing voters, the COVID-19 pandemic, as President Trump fights the virus from Walter Reed, Senator Ron Johnson (R) tests positive, and Wisconsin continues to see a record number of cases.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett appeared at the event, sharing his best wishes to all those suffering, with hopes for the future.

“I don’t want to see anybody, any human being affected with this disease,” Barrett said. “I think more people now are going to understand the seriousness of what this pandemic is all about.”

Ingrid Smith of Milwaukee doesn’t typically participate in elections.

“I’ve had a disbelief in the American government in their ability to tell the truth,” Smith said. “The Electoral College on multiple occasions has interrupted the public vote.”

However, this year she’ll be voting because she said there’s too much on the line.

“Be an example for my children so that we can start to believe again in democracy,” Smith said.

Smith said the virus reveals more problems in the community that need to be addressed.

“It’s a true pandemic, right? We’re all affected,” Smith said. “It’s interdependent, it’s intersectional. We can’t keep looking at it as one thing.”

The pandemic has also reinforced Blevins's desire to make her voice heard.

“With the news of the last 48 hours of [the president] not believing that it even was something, and now to him having it,” Blevins said.

When Blevins votes, she’s looking for further change amidst the pandemic. She’s looking for equality in the healthcare system.

“I’ve worked in healthcare before and sometimes the underprivileged get underserved,” Blevins said.

Now both Blevins and Smith are just waiting to cast their ballots.

“I’m so excited to find out I was wrong. It does matter, people’s votes do count. The small man matters as much as the big man matters,” Smith said.

Blevins also wants to urge others who haven’t checked their voter registration status to do so, because while you may have been registered in the past, they may not still be the case.

To check your voter registration status or to learn how to register to vote click here.

You can find more information on voting in TMJ4 News’ ‘Election Guide.’ To view it, click here.

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