Oshkosh council passes plan for vote by mail option
The way many voters receive their ballot in Oshkosh is likely to change by the next election.
This comes in response to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
In an effort to keep crowds away from polling places and encourage voting by mail Oshkosh will now send out a form to every registered voter offering up an absentee ballot.
It's a move the city council gave the okay for, Tuesday night after a 5-1 vote, for as long as the city remains under a public health emergency.
"This would still require in person voting. That will never be eliminated, but what it will do is make it safer because the more people that vote through the mail, it spread out the number of people that would otherwise be voting at the polling place," added Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff.
The effort will be in place for both the August 11th partisan primary and the November 3rd general election.
Mayor Lori Palmeri says a decision has to be made now to give the city clerk's office time to prepare.
"Nobody has a crystal ball, but there are certainly scientists and epidemiologists and public health people who are warning us that we could have another potential surge in the fall," said Palmeri.
This decision comes after a similar vote by the Milwaukee city council.
Oshkosh has about 35,000 registered voters now and that number is expected to grow as the fall election gets closer.
Local taxpayers would have to pick up the tab.
Rohloff said,"The cost for this would be about a hundred thousand dollars. Thirty thousand for the primary in August and then we figure another seventy for the November election."
The next election is in August.
Sometime after June 8th every registered voter in the city will receive a notice in the mail asking if they want to receive a ballot.
If they check yes, it will come sometime in July.