APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) The Spring primary election is still scheduled for April 7th, despite a ‘Safer at Home’ order from Governor Tony Evers earlier this week.
Many communities are concerned about crowds at the polls during the Coronavirus pandemic. Most are recommending that voters take their ballot to the mail to avoid being in contact with others, and practice social distancing.
Mayor Tim Hanna along with Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, discussed last week how a mail-in election would be the best option to ensure the safety of poll workers and voters. However, the state currently has no plans to move the election to the mailbox, or a later date.
In-person absentee voting got underway in Appleton on Tuesday, and Mayor Tim Hanna says that the city is taking extra precautions during the pandemic, encouraging people to vote now.
“The more people that can vote early, the fewer people have to go to the polls on April 7th,” Hanna said.
In Appleton, volunteers have been swapped with city employees. They are also using two tables instead of one for more separation from workers and voters. The city is also giving out free pencils to all voters who come out in person. Voters are asked to use the eraser end to punch their vote, instead of their fingers.
“All these people – the same people touching the same screen over and over and over again,” Hanna said. “So everyone gets a free pencil now when they come in and vote.”
Workers are also using glue sticks to seal all the envelopes, and limiting the exchange of documents like voter IDs.
Hanna is also looking at extending the in-person absentee voting hours to reduce the amount of people waiting in line at city hall.
Even with the changes, Hanna says he talked with Governor Evers on Tuesday to consider making more changes to in-person absentee voting for everyone’s health.
“Consider giving more time for people to get absentee ballots,” Hanna said. “Consider giving a little more time for them to be returned, and please consider giving our clerks time to tabulate all those absentee ballots. They are absolutely swamped right now.”
Here’s the remaining dates and times for Appleton’s in-person absentee voting:
- Thursday, March 26th from 9-11 a.m.
- Tuesday, March 31st from 1 to 3 p.m.
- Thursday, April 2nd from 9 to 11 a.m.
All these take place on the 1st floor of City Hall. The city strongly recommends submitting an absentee ballot online. You can do that by heading to myvote.wi.gov