Library locations increase access for voters amid social distancing
MILWAUKEE— March 26, 2020, The City of Milwaukee Election Commission announced today that four Milwaukee Public Library branches, as well as the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building, will now serve as drop-off sites for residents to return their absentee ballots. Each location will be open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. every day up until, and including, the April 7 election. Ballots may still be returned using the postage-paid return envelope included with each ballot.
In addition to acting as an absentee ballot drop-off location, at each site members of the public can receive help with voter registration if they are unable to complete the process online at myvote.wi.gov. Even though online voter registration was recently extended until March 30, the Election Commission recognizes that not all residents in the city have access to the internet. Election workers will be on hand to facilitate registration at all five sites.
To date, the Commission has sent nearly 56,000 absentee ballots to voters and is responding to an average of 5,000 requests per day. Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, anticipates that the City will have between 95,000 and 105,000 absentee voters by Election Day. Voters may request absentee ballots up until Thursday, April 2. Residents identifying as indefinitely confined (unable to leave home due to age or illness), have until Friday, April 3 to complete their vote. Under current law, ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on April 7, Election Day, to be counted. To date, there has been no change to Wisconsin law regarding this requirement.
“Our absentee voting numbers are unprecedented, surpassing any previous election, including past Presidential elections. We want to be sure that every person that is voting absentee has the opportunity to have their ballot counted in the election. It may not be realistic to anticipate that a ballot sent to someone on April 3 can be received, voted and returned by April 7,” said Neil Albrecht. “We are very grateful for this partnership with Milwaukee Public Libraries to help us establish this essential safeguard.”
“Libraries are anchor institutions in neighborhoods across the country, and have always been leaders in civic engagement,” said Paula Kiely, Milwaukee Public Library Director. “We serve as polling sites, assist patrons with voter registration and connect residents with their local government.”
Milwaukee residents are encouraged to vote by absentee ballot for the April 7 Spring Election and Presidential Primary. The easiest way to request a ballot is to apply online at myvote.wi.gov or call 414-286-VOTE.
Zablocki Library 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Bay View Library 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Washington Park Library 2121 N Sherman Blvd
Mill Road Library 6431 N. 76th St
Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Bldg 841 N. Broadway