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Milwaukee County sheriff warns aggressive behavior at the polls will not be allowed on Election Day

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 19:07:10-04

MILWAUKEE — Politics can bring out people’s emotions, but law enforcement and election officials warn, if you can’t act appropriately you could get arrested on Election Day.

Thursday was an easy day at the polls at the Zablocki Library on Milwaukee’s south side. Short lines with quick in and outs, made voting smooth for people casting an early in-person absentee ballot. But the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is ready for what could be a stressful Election Day come Tuesday.

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Man holds his ballot inside Zablocki Library as he gets ready to cast his early in-person absentee vote.

“We have not had any credible intelligence or threat that would indicate that we are a target here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin,” said Sheriff Earnell Lucas of Milwaukee County.

He said his office is working with state and federal officials to monitor potential problems. Wisconsin has been named as one of the top five states that could see issues with militia members at polling sites. But Lucas’ biggest concern is people’s behavior at the polls. He said if people at polls are too aggressive it can be voter intimidation which is a felony.

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The line inside Zablocki Library on Milwaukee's south side as people get in line to vote.

“Aggressive behaviors, cutting off vehicles, cutting off a person entering into or exiting from a polling location. Those are all behaviors that are a violation. Law enforcement always takes necessary appropriate action,” said Lucas.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission director Meagan Wolfe says people are allowed to act as observers at the polls. But they have to follow the rules of the election workers.

“They may not cause a disturbance and that is at the discretion of the Chief Inspector of the polling place,” said Wolfe. “If the chief inspector designates any of their activity as being a disruption to the polling procedures, they can ask that observer to leave.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says because of COVID-19, there might be a limit on the number of observers who will be allowed into each site. But if you feel intimidated or threatened by anyone while voting the WEC urges you to tell an election worker.

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