MILWAUKEE — The majority of Milwaukee Common Council members are backing a proposal that would allow Wisconsin election clerks to begin counting mail-in ballots before Nov. 3.
Fifteen Council members voiced their support for a proposal mentioned by Sen. Ron Johnson during an interview on Sunday. Johnson said then he supported a plan to allow counting before 7 a.m. on Election Day. Wisconsin election clerks are currently legally bound to begin unsealing and counting ballots of any kind at that time, and not a minute before.
But because of the influx of mail-in ballots this election due to the coronavirus pandemic, many worry the results of the election may not be released days or even weeks after Nov. 3.
The Council members said they "couldn't agree more with this sentiment." While the State Assembly has already passed a bill that could allow early counting, the State Senate did not before adjourning this fall.
Council members called on lawmakers in the Senate to get it done.
"It’s time for the Legislature to listen to Senator Johnson, local election clerks and the many others calling for this change. The vote is sacred and partisanship should never get in the way of our elections," according to the Council members in a statement.
That statement was endorsed by the following Milwaukee Common Council members: Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Mark Borkowski, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Scott Spiker, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II