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Wisconsin’s largest cities get $6.3M in grants to support safer elections

(NBC15)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 4:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s five largest cities have secured to total of $6.3 million in grants to help make elections safer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nonpartisan Center for Tech and Civic Life donated the money to the “Wisconsin Safe Voting Plan,” which in turn sends money to the cities of Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine.

The Spring Primary in Wisconsin was defined by hundreds of polling stations shutting down after poll workers decided to not show up, and thousands of ballots not being counted in time because of logistic concerns created by the pandemic.

These five cities hope to avoid such issues by using the grant money to create safer and more efficient elections this fall.

That effort includes securely opening an adequate number of voting sites, setting up drive-thru and drop box locations, providing PPE for poll workers, and recruiting and training a sufficient number of poll workers, according to a news release.

The money may need to gain further approval by city councils. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in the release:

“Through an extraordinary effort, Madison was able to pull off a safe election in April, but we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars we hadn’t budgeted doing so... As we have seen in Wisconsin and across the nation, COVID-19 is not gone; in fact, it’s getting worse in some places. If we are going to meet our obligations as elected leaders to ensure the safe administration of elections during this pandemic, we have to think differently and bring in help where we can. These valuable resources will go a long way to running successful elections this year.”

- Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

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