Statement of Alderman Cavalier Johnson
March 25, 2020
The pandemic brought on by COVID-19 has led the State of Wisconsin and City of Milwaukee to issue similar “Stay-at-Home” orders to help mitigate the spread of the virus. All of us have a role to play in combating this virus, and I want to encourage residents to abide by these orders and stay home unless you must obtain or perform vital services.
Organizations and people across the city are showcasing their adaptability in these trying times and so too must the government, particularly when it comes to the April 7th election and protecting the health and safety of election workers and voters alike. Action must be taken now so enough time is allotted to spread the word on any changes for the election that is now less than two weeks away.
We must be innovative in this challenging time to make sure our electorate can cast their ballots in a safe, accessible manner. I would encourage state leaders to strongly consider options such as mail-in ballots that would be sent to every registered voter in the state; the use of drive-thru voting that has proven successful in other areas across the state for early voting; allowing absentee ballots to be counted now to relieve the rush on election day; utilizing the National Guard to assist with counting absentee ballots, operating early voting sites or assisting with other election worker needs; keeping online voter registration and ballot request options open as long as possible; and making sure we allow enough time after April 7th to ensure all ballots cast are counted.
The importance of voting in our society can’t be stressed enough, and making democracy accessible and user friendly is always a good thing. The goal should always be to maximize participation, even when faced with difficult circumstances.
I urge residents to take advantage of the tools available to them at this time. The deadline to register online was recently extended and absentee ballots must be requested by 5 p.m. on April 2nd. Make sure your voice is still heard. Visit myvote.wi.gov to access these services.