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Nearly half of Milwaukee voters who requested absentee ballot for Spring election, still haven't returned it

absentee ballots
Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 18:33:58-04

MILWAUKEE — Election Day is less than a week away, and a lot of people are still holding onto their mail-in ballots.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, as of Wednesday, March 30, about 44 percent of Milwaukee voters who requested an absentee ballot still have not returned it. That is nearly 14,000 people.

Because of a Republican lawsuit, there are specific rules on making sure those ballots are counted this election. Unlike the primary in February, absentee voters cannot use unsupervised, 24-hour drop boxes. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a Waukesha judge’s ruling last month, banning them.

“Certainly, that is going to have an impact in terms of the number of people who go vote this year,” said Clarence Johnson, who voted early at the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building Wednesday.

“It’s confusing, because yesterday, I went to drop off my ballot where someone told me to go and the ballot box was totally covered up,” said Doris Howard. “When I went inside, they told me there was nobody here to accept ballots. So, I came here to the municipal building today.”

Milwaukee's Election Commission confirms they are fielding a lot of questions and wants to set the record straight.

Voters cannot return their absentee ballots to a polling place on Election Day, April 5.

Instead, they must drop their ballots at one of the city's nine early voting locations during the hours they are open, through Saturday April 2.

Also Saturday, each of those sites will have poll workers offering a drive-up ballot drop-off from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s another way for voters to return their ballot the weekend before the election, when we really don’t recommend you put it in the mail, because we won’t receive it by Tuesday,” said Claire Woodall-Vogg, the Executive Director of Milwaukee’s Election Commission. “We know it’s human nature to wait until the last minute, and the weekend before the election is always a big turnout.”

Saturday is the last day to vote early, and to return an absentee ballot.

The absolute last resort? If you still have your absentee ballot on Election Day, you must turn it in that day only at Milwaukee’s Central Count office at 1901 S. Kinnickinic Ave.

Here's how to vote in the Spring Election on Tuesday, April 5

Absentee ballots

Thursday, March 31 is the deadline is request an absentee ballot by email, mail, online or fax. If you request a ballot by mail, a photo of an ID can be uploaded.

24-hour unstaffed drop boxes are closed this election to due a court order. Absentee ballots may be returned to any early voting location during voting hours.

Early voting

Early voting has begun and runs through Saturday, April 2. Voter registration including address changes end on Friday, April 1.

Three sites are open for early voting Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.:

  • Midtown Center at 5700 W. Capitol Dr.
  • Zablocki Library at 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave.
  • Frank Zeidler Municipal Building at 841 N. Broadway - Room 102

There are six other sites where there is early voting, open Monday through Friday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.:

  • Bay View Library at 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • East Library at 2320 N. Cramer St.
  • Good Hope Library at 7717 W. Good Hope Road
  • Tippecanoe Library at 3912 S. Howell Ave.
  • Villard Square Library at 5190 N. 35th St.
  • Washington Park Library at 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.

All nine early voting sites will also provide drive-up curbside ballot drop off on Saturday, March 26, and Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Polls on Election Day

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, April 5. You must bring your photo ID to vote. Find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov

Click here to view the City of Milwaukee's election website.

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