Voters wait in long lines as early in-person voting begins in the battleground state of Wisconsin

Posted at 11:39 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 13:28:14-04

Early in-person voting began Tuesday morning and almost immediately some of Milwaukee's voting sites were wrapped by voters waiting in line, eager to cast ballots in the battleground state with just two weeks until Election Day.

"This is the longest I've ever waited," said Janet Mays, a voter who said she always tries to vote on the first day of early in-person voting.

Mays said she typically only waits 15 to 20 minutes to get inside downtown Milwaukee's Zeidler building and cast her ballot. On Tuesday, Oct. 20th, she said she was waiting roughly an hour and a half.

"I have the mask, I have the thick coat, I have heavy shoes, I have my boots on, I've got my water, I've got my snacks, I've got my seat" said Mays.

A lot to carry, but she said the wait is worth it.

"Do not take it for granted, do not wait, do not assume somebody else is going to do it, don't get complacent, everybody - take several people if you can, and get out to vote as early as possible, in-person if possible, and don't take the vote for granted, ever,"said Mays.

The lines at the Zeidler Building were long to start, but Janet was not the only person prepared to wait.

The line stretched blocks. Some brought coffee, others water or snacks. Nearly everybody doing their best to stay socially distant while wearing a mask.

"It's a pretty important decision. Worth waiting, what an hour? two hours," said Dan Molony, a voter who was said he'd been eagerly waiting for early in-person voting to begin. "I just like to vote in-person. I just know it's going to be there and I can guarantee it."

Inside the Zeidler building, masked-up poll workers sat behind plexiglass and tried to keep the line moving.

While lines grew in downtown Milwaukee, some of the city's other early voting sites, like the Bay View Library site, saw voters in and out in minutes.

In Oak Creek, a small line of less than a dozen people began to grow about a half hour before the site opened at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

City Clerk Catherine Roeske showed TMJ4 the types of measures being taken statewide to protect both voters and poll workers.

"We have hand sanitizer, we are encouraging social distancing. We have spread out. We are operating early voting in our largest room in City Hall," said Roeske.

She reminds anyone who plans to vote early to remember to bring their Photo I.D. to the early voting site.

Poll workers are required to wear masks and voters are asked to do the same.

Safe voting is a top priority as leaders also suggest early in-person voting could lead to higher turnout and shorter wait times on November 3rd.

"I hope it is high so that people don't have to wait on election day," said Roeske.

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