MILWAUKEE — Fiserv Forum and Miller Park will now serve as early voting centers for the 2020 general election.
Mayor Tom Barrett said the massive sports complexes will join 15 additional early voting centers ahead of the election.
Concern was initially raised during the spring election, when dozens of voting sites in Milwaukee were closed amid the pandemic. Scores of poll workers decided not to show out of concern for the coronavirus, and the poll workers who did show were swamped with large lines and far greater numbers of mail-in and absentee ballots than usual.
Leaders in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin are now making efforts to make sure such issues do not return during an important presidential election.
“We are now fortunate to announce that not only have we found one, but we have found two locations that are absolutely fabulous for allowing more people to exercise their right to vote,” said Mayor Tom Barrett in a release. “Nationally, Milwaukee has become the leader by providing both Fiserv Forum and Miller Park for early voting. I don’t know of another city in this nation that is using a major league ballpark and an NBA arena for early voting— that’s how committed we are to making sure that people’s voices are heard.”
According to data from the City of Milwaukee, the city sees 70% of citizens vote in-person and 20-30% vote absentee.
In the April election, however, it was backwards: 20-30% of people voted in-person, and 70% voted absentee.
Barrett said voting by absentee at larger sites like Fiserv Forum and Miller Park offers a greater opportunity for social distancing, as well as "furthers racial equity and access to in-person voting opportunities," Barrett said.
The Fiserv Forum will be used for in-person early voting Oct. 20 - Nov. 1. The location will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday - Friday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Miller Park will provide drive through early voting for the November election. Dates and hours of operation will be announced at a later date.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Election Commission has created 170 neighborhood-based voting locations for Election Day.
“Every eligible voter in this country has the right to vote, and has the right to vote safely,” said Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg in a statement.
The Commission is working to recruit an additional 750 poll workers for Election Day. Milwaukee County residents who are interested in working as poll workers can apply at milwaukee.gov/election.