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Wisconsin voter registration up, Milwaukee down compared to 2016

Posted at 10:31 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 23:31:51-04

MILWAUKEE — New data shows around 80,000 more Wisconsinites are registered to vote than there were in October of 2016, but that isn’t the case in the city of Milwaukee.

The latest statistics from the Wisconsin Elections Commission show there are about 20,000 fewer registered voters in Milwaukee compared to four years ago.

The clock is ticking for those who want to participate in the November election. Election day is now less than a month away.

“If we want to change something we’ve got to get out there and vote,” said Kevin Williams, a Bronzeville resident.

Williams and his wife joined the voter rolls Monday afternoon at a pop-up registration site in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

“It was because of an address change and all that in different districts, then my wife had a difficult time with her last name being changed after we got married,” Williams explained.

Statewide, there are nearly 80,000 more Wisconsinites registered to vote than this time of the year in 2016.

Large counties such as Brown, Dane and Waukesha are all seeing increases of about 10,000 more voter registrations, but the City of Milwaukee is going in the opposite direction.

“I would say that the reason we see an upswing in the state as a whole is really the rollout of the 'My Vote' website,” said former Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht. “I would say for a city like Milwaukee though, and again giving consideration to communities in poverty, there is the digital divide.”

The City of Milwaukee saw a 12-percent drop in voter participation in 2016 than it had in 2012. Under state law, those who don’t vote in the past four years are dropped from the voter rolls if they don’t certify that they want to remain registered.

“Milwaukee is a Democratic voting city, it’s about a 75 percent Democratic voting, so if fewer people in Milwaukee have access to the polls or are not able to vote either because of these changes to registration law, or because of burdens like a photo ID requirement, that can absolutely impact the outcome of the election,” Albrecht said.

Wisconsinites still have time to register for the November election, but the deadline is quickly approaching. You have until October 14 to register online or by mail.

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