Long lines forming at Milwaukee, Green Bay polling locations

Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 9:01 AM CDT
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Dozens of voters, many wearing masks and standing apart from one another, waited outside the South Division High School polling place in Milwaukee as the polls opened Tuesday.

A similar long line of voters waited at Waukesha's only polling site.

Long waiting times were expected as the number of polling places was cut due to poll workers concerns about contracting COVID-19.

Kristin Hansen, 53, a voting rights activist, thought about working the polls when she heard there was a need, but she decided against it because she has asthma and seasonal allergies that already cause her breathing problems.

Hansen said she finds it hard to believe Wisconsin is holding in-person voting in light of the pandemic.

Milwaukee has around 300,000 registered voters and usually has 180 polling locations. On Tuesday, there were just five open because many sites were consolidated due to a shortage of poll workers.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said in a tweet that it has received reports of long lines in the Milwaukee area.

The latest absentee ballot count shared about 100,000 absentee ballots had been returned in Milwaukee.

In the City of Green Bay, there are typically 31 polling locations but only two were open for in-person voting. Some voters spent up to three hours waiting to cast a ballot.

National Guard members are helping staff polling places because of the shortage of workers.

According to the National Guard, 2,409 members were called to serve as poll workers. The counties with the most guard members working were Milwaukee with 264, Dane with 249, and Brown with 132.

In Madison, there were 66 polling locations open. Typically, there are 92 around the city.