FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Primary election in Appleton went ‘smoothly’ after decision to keep all poll locations open

Fox Valley Regional News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) Wisconsin’s primary election was still held on Tuesday despite a ‘Safer at Home’ order from Governor Tony Evers. While some cities struggled to get voters in and out quickly due to a variety of issues, Appleton reportedly had little trouble.

“I think in relative terms, it went off very smoothly,” said Mayor Tim Hanna during his Community Update with Local 5 This Morning.

The city made the decision to keep all 15 of their polling locations open, while some cities consolidated their locations due to fear of the Covid-19 virus spreading.

“We just felt like we’re putting people more at risk by consolidating polling places and having them all congregated in one spot and wait,” Hanna said. “Most people I talked to [in Appleton] were in and out in less than 10 minutes.”

Appleton also didn’t seem to struggle with having poll workers on hand. While some cities across the state had workers drop out from volunteering due to the pandemic, Appleton was able to meet their needs for the most part.

“We put the word out to city employees and they really stepped up,” Hanna said. “We did have some additional help from the National Guard. At one point we were looking for about 70 some workers. Ideally, we wanted five at each location, so that would be 75 – and we were pretty close.”

Hanna was outspoken about either postponing the election to a later date, or having it done completely through the mail due to the Coronavirus. He says while the state government has been encouraging Wisconsinites to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus, it didn’t make sense to then encourage people to hit the polls to cast their ballot.

“I think it was very hypocritical,” he said. “It’s a sad commentary on the state of partisan politics in our state, and it’s just really sad.”

Mayor Hanna’s last day in office is on Tuesday, April 21st. The city’s next mayor, either Jake Woodford or James Clemens, will be sworn in that evening. The state is still awaiting the results from the election which is scheduled to be released on Monday.

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