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Milwaukee rolls out “drive-up” option for early voting to eliminate risk of COVID-19 exposure

The City of Milwaukee Election Commission launched a “drive-up” early voting option for voters on Saturday, March 28 outside of the Zeidler Municipal Building at 841 N. Broadway.

This model of early voting provides important access to voting for city residents, but eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for election workers and the voting public. Drive-up early voting is available on both Saturdays and Sundays preceding the election from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Early voting ends on Sunday, April 5. Parking spaces are reserved for drive-up voters along E. Kilbourn Avenue between Market Street and N. Broadway, and along Broadway between Kilbourn Avenue and E. Wells Street. Election staff stay along the roadway and work with persons in their vehicles. It allows them to keep a safe distance while giving instructions, reviewing photo IDs, and then issue, secure, and witness their absentee ballot.

Early voting was temporarily suspended in Milwaukee so that an assessment could be made of Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on best practices to reduce COVID-19 exposure risk during voting. The CDC and local health department guidelines advised against gatherings of more than 10 people in a space, which conflicted with the previous operations of the city’s three early voting locations.

“Other municipalities across the state have embraced this model of early voting,” said Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. “It provides important access for people wanting to vote in the election that may have difficulty accessing by-mail absentee voting, but also helps to ensure the safety of our staff and the public.”

As part of the city’s “Vote Safe Milwaukee” campaign, Albrecht encouraged residents to avoid in-person voting and instead vote absentee by mail or at the drive-up early voting site. To date, the City of Milwaukee has issued nearly 60,000 absentee ballots to residents.

For health purposes and to reduce risk of exposure, voters are still encouraged to apply for an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov, by calling 414-286-VOTE, to return their ballots by mail, or to deliver them to a designated absentee ballot drop-off site.

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