Milwaukee’s election chief expects “pretty high” turnout when early in-person voting starts tomorrow.
She also said the city will have 14 early voting sites, more than in the last presidential election.
In an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront,” Claire Woodall-Vogg said the Milwaukee Election Commission will have a huge number of absentee ballots to be opened and counted on Nov. 3. “UpFront” is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
“We can’t open a single envelope until 7 a.m. on Election Day. We are expecting to have over 175,000 ballots to be counted, and that process takes time,” Woodall-Vogg said. “So we’re hoping that we will have some results shortly after 8 p.m., of our absentee ballots, but it could be until the early hours of the morning. I’ve been telling people we will have final absentee results by the time the sun comes up on November 4.”
She said that about half of the 125,000 absentee ballots that have been issued so far have been returned.
Woodall-Vogg expects voting by absentee ballot to be a trend that continues in the future, and it’s “very important” to change a state law that prevents those ballots from being counted until Election Day.
“It’s a common sense thing to do,” Woodall-Vogg said.
Also on the program, Major General Paul Knapp, adjutant general of the Wisconsin National Guard, said the Guard expects to learn this week how many soldiers will be needed to assist at polling places on Nov. 3.
Guard personnel in civilian clothes worked polling places in the April election, when many of the usual poll workers declined to volunteer due to the pandemic.
Knapp said part of the Guard’s role was to assist the Wisconsin Elections Commission in getting supplies and sanitation equipment out to polling sites to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Knapp also said the Guard is shifting its resources for COVID-19 testing around the state in order to have “really widespread coverage.”
Knapp discussed the extraordinary role the Wisconsin National Guard has played in 2020, on a variety of needs from COVID-19 testing to Election Day help to assisting local law enforcement with civil disturbances.
“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Knapp about the presence of soldiers during civil unrest in Kenosha, Madison and Wauwatosa, and whether that heightened tensions.
“One of the things that we’ve found, the National Guard presence has tended to do just the opposite,” Knapp said.
“We have actually gotten the feeling that (it) has been more of a calming influence, because our presence there is public safety, number one, and life safety. And at the end of the day, the National Guard, we’re your neighbors, we’re your friends, and our goal is just to keep everyone safe,” Knapp said.
See more from the program: